Spot Check: Low Down on the High Rise

For the past year, One Winnetka has been working its way through the system. The goal was preliminary approval of all the boards and recommendations to the Village Council. Review Process Tip Sheet.


The developer intro’d by asking for seven exceptions to the Village’s zoning ordinances. All were negotiable. Exceptions are the norm in Planned Unit Developments, but seven might be considered a little excessive.

  • Plan Commission reviewed for consistency with Village’s Comprehensive Plan, whittled to 3 exceptions (70' height, no upper story setback, no rear yard setback), and approved 8-2. Several concerns forwarded to Village Council.
  • Zoning Board of Appeals reviewed for compliance with Zoning Ordinances. Thumbs down, 8-2. No concerns No mas.
  • Design Review Board attempted to further refine the project, approved 5-4. More concerns.

For the play-by-play, pages 641-644.


Tuesday, April 5th, the Village Council officially intro’d One Winnetka. Public questioned developer. Three-minute time limit. Challenging, but indoor voices. Tuesday, April 19th, more questions, then concerns. Next, One Winnetka responds. Not on agenda yet. Stay tuned.

Regardless of how this plays to the crowd, the VC is the only thing that matters now. Here are its metrics:

  • Meets the special use standards for planned development as Winnetka has defined it.
  • Consistency with the Comprehensive Plan.
  • Design appropriate to its surroundings.
  • Public good worth the zoning exceptions.

Here’s what you should be looking for:

  • Consultant bias. Not saying, it’s just that the “CB” in CBRE is Coldwell Banker. One Winnetka has 46,000 square feet of retail space to fill, and 71 units or rental/condos to lease and sell.
  • Village contribution. $7.6 million. What do we get for it?
  • Developer’s marketing plan for filling the vacant space.
  • Zoning exceptions – again, what do we get for our trouble?
  • Need for the amenities the developer proposes.
  • Transparency and resident input.


  • The VC does not have to take into account the recommendations from the Plan Commission or the Design Review Board.
  • The VC does not have to send the project back to the Advisory Boards for final review if it feels the developer has met its requirements and that the project is good for Winnetka.
  • Supermajority is on. President Greable has no vote. 
  • The financials will be the bottom line. Hopefully, we will hear them first.


The VC would not waste our time if the financials don’t work. The VC would hold public hearings to educate residents, get further input with which to address the developer, and consider the tunnel a cautionary tale.


Whether you are for or against One Winnetka, and you’d like to be heard: