The Lake Bluff Village Board and the developer (SB 2011 LLC) (“Developer”) of the Stonebridge property located at 136 Green Bay Road (“Property”), have reached an agreement (“Agreement”) to settle all current litigation and to provide clarity with regard to the rights and obligations of the parties for maintenance of the Property and the zoning and process for future development of the Property.

Two Trustees, along with the Village Attorney and Village Administrator, extensively negotiated the Agreement on behalf of the Village Board. The Agreement is subject to final Village Board approval. The Village Board is scheduled to consider approval of the Agreement at its November 22, 2021 regular meeting.

The Agreement represents the best possible negotiated settlement that can be obtained from the developer. Absent settlement, the Village would have to continue to defend and prosecute costly litigation that likely would not provide the same land use and zoning protections that the Agreement provides.

A summary of the agreement terms is provided below. To view the agreement itself:

Questions? Contact Village Administrator Drew Irvin.

What does the agreement do?

  1.  Moves the Village closer to achieving its goal to have the Property put back into productive use and harmoniously developed;
  2. Grants no zoning relief or approval with regard to future density on the Property.

  3. Returns the Property to it underlying E-1 Zoning District.

  4. Puts a stop to the Village’s legal expenses (which currently exceeds $289,000) for defending itself and pursuing the Developer for ordinance violations;

  5. Eliminates the risk of the Village paying the Developer’s legal fees, which may be required under the existing Development Agreement if the Village does not prevail in the lawsuit brought by the developer against the Village to terminate the existing PRD and Development Agreement that currently govern the Property. Under the Settlement Agreement, each party will be responsible only for their own respective legal fees; and

  6. Avoids another round of costly and potentially fruitless litigation. In addition to further legal expenses, further litigation risks that a court could permanently reduce the protection available to the historic Jens Jensen landscape or become involved in the Village’s approval of future development proposals.

The terms of the settlement provide…

  • The existing PRD Ordinance will be revoked and the development agreement will be terminated.
  • The Property will revert to the Village’s Estate (E-1) Zoning District – a return to its original allowable density before the 2006 failed development plan was first approved. Buildable lots in the E-1 District must have a total area no less than one and one-half acres (65,340 square feet), and a width of no less than 150 feet.

  • Future development of the Property may only occur subject to the Village’s E-1 district regulations or as a Planned Residential Development (PRD).

  • The historic Jens Jensen landscape on the front 10 acres will become subject to a restrictive covenant which will be recorded against the Property and protect this area from development. As long as the property is zoned and developed as-of-right under the E-1 regulations, the restrictive covenant will remain. Only a PRD development or court judgement can cause the restrictive covenant to be lifted, and in that case the Village would have the opportunity to require the same or similar protections for the front 10 acres as are provided in the restrictive covenant as a condition to approving a new PRD for the Property.

  • The Developer will be permitted to demolish the manor house, but only after the Village has an opportunity to salvage architectural artifacts for preservation and/or repurposing (the Village will not have to pay the Developer for the artifacts).

  • The gatehouse may also be demolished but only after the gatehouse and Property are marketed for a 5-month period by a national real estate firm.

Additionally, the Developer will be required to…

  • Post a new letter of credit in the amount of $135,000 to ensure the historic Jens Jensen landscape within the front 10 acres and other installed infrastructure on the Property is maintained.

  • Replace the wooden fence along the north side of Property (along the south side of West Witchwood Lane) within 90 days; and

  • Pay the demolition fees and taxes for the manor house.

Question and Answer

For more background:

2006 Planned Residential Development Approval (Original Developer) - This is the original approval for the development of the Property as a Planned Residential Development (PRD) and still governs the property.

2006 Development Agreement (Original Developer) - This is the original agreement between the developer and the Village.

2011 Planned Residential Development Amendment (Sale to New Developer) - This amendment to the PRD eliminated an age restriction applicable to the PRD at the request of a new developer purchasing the Property.

2011 Development Agreement Amendment (Sale to New Developer) - This amendment to the development agreement mirrors the elimination of the age restriction.

2011 Transferee Assumption Agreement (Sale to New Developer) - This action represents the new developer assuming responsibility for the development agreement.

2014 Preliminary Plan Approval (New Developer) This action represented preliminary plan approval for a new development. A final plan would be necessary for this to govern the Property. A final plan was never approved.

2020 Application to Historic Preservation Commission for Demolition (New Developer) - This is the Developer's application to demolish the Manor House and Carriage House, including the Developer's economic analysis and other prior efforts.