On September 4, the Village Board held a meeting to update residents on the status of the Calumet Country Club development. Below is a summary of the meeting.
The Village was initially told the owners of the country club did not have a contract with the developer and that an offer to purchase the property would be considered. The Village made an offer of $3.2 million, only to be told that the owners did in fact have a contract, and our offer could not be considered. However, the developer might consider an offer to buy him out of the contract. The Village inquired and was told the developer would accept $17.5 million.
Regarding the disconnection petition, the Village has hired an attorney with experience in this field to represent us in court. View the disconnection petition here. Through discovery, we will request a copy of the contract the developer has with the country club owners and any other relevant documents. This process is expected to take three months or more.
The Village contacted several organizations to see if they could purchase or assist with purchasing the land, including the Nature Conservancy, Trust for Public Lands, Community and Environmental Defense Services, the Forest Preserve District, the Park District and the Tollway. None of these organizations has the interest for the funds to purchase the property.
The Village has four options at this time:
Purchase the country club for $17.5 million. The Village does not have the funds to purchase the property, nor is it willing to overpay for the property.
Condemn the property. The Village could condemn the property through eminent domain, but this is a long and costly process and it is not likely we would prevail. We would need to pay the owners whatever a jury decides is the appropriate amount, which could be much higher than we are willing to pay. In addition, we would be responsible for paying the owner’s legal fees.
Consent to the disconnection. By doing this, we would lose control over mitigating the impacts of the development. The developer would likely annex into the Village of Hazel Crest and they would determine what, if any, measures should be taken to mitigate the impacts.
Contest the disconnection. The Village is pursuing this option. We engaged an attorney with experience in this field to represent us in court.
At this time, there is nothing more the Village can do but wait for the court process to play out. We will have more information in a few months, at which time the Village Board will re-evaluate its options.
Here are links to news articles with more information:
In December 2018, Diversified Partners CRE, a developer headquartered in Arizona, approached the Village with a proposed development for the land at Calumet Country Club, located at the northwest corner of Dixie Highway and 175th Street. Village officials met with the developer over the past eight months as the plans changed from a low-intensity use to a higher one. The Village and the developer reached a point where they were unable to agree on a mutually acceptable development.
Last week, the country club owners filed a petition in the Circuit Court of Cook County seeking to disconnect the land from the Village of Homewood. Their intent is to annex into the adjoining Village of Hazel Crest because they believe that Hazel Crest may be willing to support this type of development.
The process to disconnect the 116 acres from Homewood could take 18 to 24 months. While the Village has the opportunity to argue that the court should deny the disconnection petition, the law usually favors landowners.
The Village has been placed in the position of deciding whether it should challenge the disconnection petition, accept the disconnection, or re-engage the developer to seek a mutually suitable development. If the land were annexed into Hazel Crest, Homewood would have no control over the development and its impact on the community. If the land remained in Homewood, the Village of Homewood and its citizens would retain some ability to mitigate the impacts of this use.
Calumet Country Club facts:
Calumet Country Club is one of the only public access Donald Ross designed championship golf courses in greater Chicago. In 1980, the majority of the property (116 acres) was annexed into Homewood. Currently, the Homewood portion is zoned for Public Lands/Open Space.
The property is located at the NW corner of 175th & Dixie Highway, just south of Interstate 80. Portions in both Homewood (116 acres) & Hazel Crest (12 acres). Bounded to the east by East Hazel Crest, north & west is Hazel Crest and to the south is Homewood.
Calumet Country Club facts:
In December 2018, the developer presented the Village with four formalized options for staff review. The plan that staff was most interested in pursuing included desirable uses such as Top Golf, IKEA, hotels, office/industrial & small retailers along 175th & Dixie Highway. Our concern with the plans was that the proposed roads did not follow/ preserve the contours of the property and the plans were not sensitive to the natural aesthetics of the property. We requested the preservation of the trees and natural areas.
Site Plan – Spec 2.4 – Staff Preferred (12.04.18)
In January 2019, the developer presented a gated age-restricted housing plan with 128 units on 175th Street.
Site Plan – Spec 5.3 Revised (01.18.19)
The final site plan from Diversified Partners includes billboards along I-80, light industrial along 175th Street and a fulfillment/distribution – “throughput cross-dock buildings” which are designed for unloading materials from an incoming semi-trailer truck and loading these materials directly into outbound trucks, trailers, with little or no storage in between. The developer projected more than 300 trucks daily. The plan added preserved wetlands, buffering/berms, and additional landscaping. The plan did not include preservation of mature trees, rather the plan is to scrape the golf course, clubhouse and clear all trees.
Site Plan – Spec 11 (03.22.19)
The Village of Homewood and Board of Trustees appreciate all questions, comments and concerns that have been raised. The Village Board of Trustees is taking all information under advisement to determine how the Village will move forward. Please visit this website for future updates.