Calumet Country Club disconnect petition prompts Homewood officials to act

Editor's note: This is the first story in a series exploring the proposed redevelopment of Calumet Country Club. 

A redevelopment plan for the historic Calumet Country Club on Homewood's north side has village officials and residents alarmed.

fulfillment center on the site. The golf course was built in 1917 and was designed by famed golf course designer Donald Ross. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
  Calumet Country Club is
  under contract to a developer
  who is interested in building
  a fulfillment center on the site.
  B
uilt in 1917, the golf course
  was designed by famed golf
  course designer Donald Ross.
 
 (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
 
The current proposal by Diversified Partners CRE, which has a contract to purchase the golf course at 2136 175th St., would redevelop the property as a transportation and distribution center that could have more than 300 trucks per day going in and out, according to Homewood officials.

The property runs along the north side of 175th Street opposite the Governors Park subdivision. 

At a special meeting of the Board of Trustees on July 18, village officials provided a summary of the current proposal and invited residents to comment and ask questions. 
This image of a truck terminal shows what the proposed development at the site of Calumet Country Club might look like. (Provided image)
  This image of a truck terminal
  shows what the proposed
  development at the site of
  Calumet Country Club might
  look like.
 (Provided image)
 

The club has been for sale for at least a year. In the spring, Prevision Golf took over golf course operations. The company opened the course to the public for the first time in its history, though on a limited basis. Officials for the company said at the time it would remain open for the short term, and they expressed hope they could rebuild the golf business.

In December, Diversified Partners approached the village with the first of a number of concepts for the property. 

Mayor Richard Hofeld said at the July 18 meeting that the village would prefer the property remain open space, but some of the early proposals would have been acceptable uses. They included various configurations of retail, hospitality, housing and light industrial.

In some of the plans, the developer proposed trying to attract an Ikea furniture store or a Topgolf sports entertainment center, both of which village officials considered good additions to the community, according to Economic Development Director Angela Mesaros.

In January, however, the company returned with plans that focused entirely on industrial uses, including a fulfillment center and, in one iteration, a rock crushing and recycling facility. Village officials gave those plans a cold reception.

Mesaros said village officials continued negotiating with the developer, but found the fulfillment center idea unacceptable because of the noise, pollution and truck traffic it was expected to produce.

The situation changed the week before the meeting, according to Village Attorney Chris Cummings, when the village received a copy of a lawsuit being filed in Cook County Circuit Court by CCC Investors LLC, the company that owns the country club, petitioning for the disconnection of 116 acres of the property from the village.

Because the property is bound on three sides by the village of Hazel Crest, Cummings said the developer is expected to encourage that village to annex the land if the court grants the disconnection petition. 

Hazel Crest Village Manager Dante Sawyer said village officials are aware of the situation.

"Our village board is taking no position on this matter," he said in an email to the Chronicle.

In a letter dated July 15, Hofeld appealed to the Hazel Crest Board of Trustees to decline any request to support the disconnection petition or any effort to get Hazel Crest to annex the property. He noted that residents and roads in both villages would feel the effect of the truck traffic generated by a fulfillment center.

"In the Southland we are all good neighbors," Hofeld wrote. "We depend upon, respect and must work with each other."

Hofeld said he had not yet received a reply from Hazel Crest. 

Cummings outlined the six criteria the petition has to meet in order for disconnection to be granted, and he indicated the odds favor the property owner.

  • The property has to be larger than 20 acres. 
  • The property has to be on the border of the municipality.
  • The disconnection cannot isolate any portion of the municipality.
  • The disconnection cannot unreasonably disrupt the municipality's growth or planning and zoning.
  • The disconnection cannot disrupt municipal services.
  • The disconnection cannot unduly harm the municipality's tax revenues.
 
He said some of those points are arguable, but several can be clearly satisfied by the property owner.

"It is a very pro-property owner statute," he said. "As long as they meet those six criteria, there's not a lot of discretion that the judge can grant."

Hofeld said the village opposes the disconnection because Homewood would lose any influence over the redevelopment if the property is no longer within the village boundary.

The hour-and-a-half meeting included comments and questions from a number of residents. The next story will include some of their ideas and concerns.

Related stories:
 

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A great community deserves a great newspaper. The HF Chronicle was created in June 2014 as an online publication. In December 2015 we began monthly print publication, too. Our mission is to chronicle the life of our community — news by, for, and about the people of Homewood and Flossmoor, Illinois.

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