Opportunities Limited as Vernon Hills' Growth Spurt Ends

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Byline: Mick Zawislak mzawislak@dailyherald.com By Mick Zawislak mzawislak@dailyherald.com

With the days of big growth done, the focus in Vernon Hills will shift to maintaining and improving what's in place, according to an update of the village's long-range plan.

That's not to say there aren't selected opportunities for bold statements in terms of development, such as the northeast corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Route 60.

And there also are a few firsts, including a section dealing with renewable energy and green building practices, as well as a suggestion the village pursue boundary agreements with Lincolnshire and Buffalo Grove.

But the first update of the comprehensive plan in nine years, which will be considered later this month by the village board, recognizes there is limited space for new projects.

"The underlying theme of this plan, in many respects, is that Vernon Hills is a maturing community now," said John Kalmar, assistant village manager and director of community development. "There's a lot less vacant property available now, which tends to limit your new development activities."

That means an end to large-scale single-family residential development. And because there is less demand for larger homes, teardowns are not expected in older neighborhoods.

But the village should be mindful of the need for continued investment and revitalization in those areas, according to the plan.

It recommends using building codes, particularly in terms of maintenance and overcrowding, to ensure that happens.

There is potential for some multifamily projects, notably along Milwaukee Avenue on a portion of the Loyola University Cuneo Mansion and Gardens property, but any plan would need to be carefully reviewed. …