Spot Check: One Winnetka Best Practices or a Cautionary Tale?

Ordinance, Check. Agreement, Check.
ETA - March 2019

On January 3rd, in its first executive act of the new year, the Village Council gave six thumbs up to the ordinance to grant preliminary approval of One Winnetka. This past Tuesday, it approved the Ordinance and Development Agreement,  green-lighting the largest privately-funded development Winnetka has ever seen. Five months, five meetings, five motions seconded and approved. Up next, a 24-month exercise in municipal best practices or a cautionary tale. Strap yourself in.

380 Pages of Promises, Protections and Process

The Ordinance, Development Agreement, and supporting documents - AKA "The Plan" [pg. 22] - total 380 pages of what the project looks like, how it gets done, and legal feet-to-the-fires that make sure it gets done right. All 'i's dotted. All t's crossed. 

The Package

Only one thing is not like the other: The developer wants a range of units - 55-62 vs 61 - in case buyers want to combine units or change their room count. One Winnetka aims to please, and now it can. Otherwise, what you saw over the past 5 months is what you still get. If all goes to "Plan."

The Process

Next stop, Plan Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Design Review Board. Devil in details. If the Final Plan does not look a whole lot like the Preliminary one – concept, intent, design, density, height, development schedule, even agreements or covenants – all bets are off and the project can be ‘86’d. This was the fate of One Winnetka's predecessor when economic conditions made the original New Trier Partners project financially a non-starter.

Otherwise, it's rubber stamp and return to sender. Then Final Plan Approval, hurdle cleared.

But what about...? Remember, the Plan Commission and Design Review Board added several recs to their preliminary OKs. They'll be looking for them. Cue: Sideways glances and raised eyebrows as Commissioners get that "preliminary" doesn't nec mean they get another crack at it.

The Timeline 

The developer is on a tight leash. [Agenda Packet, pg. 29]

  • 180 days to deliver a “full and complete application for Final Plan approval” engineering plans coming right up
  • 90 days after that to fork over the building permit application.
  • 60 days after the building permit to put shovel to earth
  • 24 months to open the doors

…unless the Village grants extensions. Shake hands.

The Promises and Protections 

Lots for some. Hopefully enough for others. [Jan. 3rd, 29:44]

and more. [Section 7, pg. 12]

Trustees Cautiously Optimistic

Goodwill meets hard work. If you don't like the product, the Trustees are hoping you'll at least like the process. 

Cripe – Calls it “a very cooperative process” and “a good start,” especially the Hadley plan. Is standing by to take your calls.

Lanphier – Wants to be sure that residents’ expectations are met re: process. Wants head nods all around that the Village will be “safe and livable” during construction. 

Myers – In Cripe’s camp. Likes protections, especially financial. Thinks we’re looking at a “tough 18-20 months,” but stuff in place to make it “survivable.”

Rintz – Likes staff and developer rowing in the same direction.  Pleased with financial detail, thinks controls “strong and fair.” Feels that “things are going to get done right.”

Ziv – Echoes everyone. Encourages residents to “comb through” the 380-page agenda packet. Confident it will answer questions and concerns. 

Greable –  Says me too, applauds the agenda packet as a “well-done document,” and thinks you should read it.

Do Yourself a Favor

Love it or loathe it, One Winnetka is here to stay. Make it work for you.