- Apr 21, 2016
After more than a year of deliberation, the Jacobs Townhomes proposal is poised for approval by the Village board this month. Addressing concerns of Village Trustees at last month’s Planning and Zoning Committee meeting, Developer Keith Jacobs laid out the final changes to his proposed downtown project on Shermer Road.
The proposed project consists of 2-,3-, and 4-story townhomes ranging in height from 32 feet to nearly 44 feet on 10 assembled properties on Shermer Road. The plan has undergone numerous revisions following five public hearings by the Village’s Plan Commission where concerns were raised by the commissioners as well as nearby residents. Changes that occurred during the Plan Commission review include included a reduction in the number of units from 76 to 72, increasing the open space to nearly an acre, reconfiguring the driveways to mitigate the effect to homes on Chapel Hill Court, creating a 6-foot carriage walk on Shermer Road, and other landscaping improvements. The Plan Commission ultimately voted 5 – 2 to recommend Village board approval.
However, at their March meeting, Trustees reserved final judgment on the plan, expressing concerns about density, the relationship of the project to Shermer Road (height, spacing, design), placement of the air conditioner condenser units, and adequacy of landscaping. The board ultimately referred the matter to the Village’s Planning and Zoning subcommittee to try and hash out any final changes.
At the meeting, Planning and Zoning Committee Chair Jim Karagianis cited his longstanding interest in improving the downtown and praised Jacobs for his excellent work, but complained that Shermer resembled “a wall” and insisted on an increased setback and removing up to 6 units from the project. “We need to show we can create a downtown that’s good for the ages,” he stated
After hearing from developer Keith Jacobs and members of the public, the Committee voted to recommend a revised plan that would t increase the depth of the building setback along Shermer Road for the center portion of the site, by removing four units from the interior of the development and moving the townhomes along Shermer Road to the south, without reducing the provided forty-foot rear yard adjacent to the Chapel Court properties.
Trustees praised Jacobs for his vision for the project. “This is a real plus for downtown Northbrook,” commented Trustee Todd Heller. “This truly reflects the board’s vision for a more vibrant downtown.” He also noted that given the surrounding commercial activity, change to this part of Northbrook should not come as a shock and was inevitable.