Lake Bluff Target proposal raises traffic, tax questions
Updated: April 1, 2013 6:13AM
LAKE BLUFF — Impact on traffic, existing businesses and sales taxes dominated discussion about a proposed Target on Wednesday, as store officials made a presentation to the Lake Bluff Plan Commission/Zoning Board of Appeals.
While commissioners liked alterations made to the potential plan for the village’s first big-box store, they expressed concern about what changes a 139,000 square-foot store at the former Shepard Chevrolet site might bring to the community.
Target officials outlined a number of variations to the typical store look, including display windows to break up the large brick exterior, trees and vegetation to camouflage one exterior wall and a gathering space in the parking lot for bike riders and pedestrians. The 14-acre site at 930 Carriage Park Lane lies near the North Shore Bike Path.
Target Stores Inc. and McVickers Development LLC submitted a zoning application in January to allow for redevelopment of the vacant Shepard Chevrolet property and three separate commercial “outlots” scattered on the site.
Acting Chairman Kurt Haller said Wednesday’s discussion was a preliminary review that would help establish zoning regulations for the proposal.
Haller moved to Chairman Joan Kaltsas’ seat after she recused herself and went to the back of the room because her sons are involved in the project. Joe Kaltsas of Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc. is the lead engineer and Mark Kaltsas is the lead landscape designer.
“We’re here tonight to seek more feedback in order to make our next submittal,” said Laurie Jones, Target senior development manager. “This truly is a very special place.”
The plans for a Lake Bluff Target include retaining natural buffers around the property, increasing overall green space on the site to 25 percent and constructing a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, compliant building.
“The biggest thing is to respect the quality and character of the community and neighborhood we are in,” Joe Kaltsas said.
Commissioner Adam Moore called traffic “one of the biggest unknowns” of the project.
Shoppers from Abbott Labs and Naval Station Great Lakes “could be a huge influx of traffic in this area,” he said. Abbott and the Naval Station are located two miles north of the potential Target site.
“Lake Bluff is at the tipping point of being a village or a city,” Commissioner Michael Goldsberry said. “I want to be sure we’re aware of what we’re getting ourselves into, not just what we might gain in sales tax.”
Target officials have not said what sales tax revenue the village could gain if a store is built in town.
Commissioner Mickey Collins said she understands Lake Bluff needs to “shake off our little village spider webs” and start to think bigger. “I hope this will actually make Lake Bluff much more of a shopping destination,” she said.
Village resident and Voila! owner Susie McMurray asked if Target conducted any studies showing the impact a big-box store has on small businesses.
“I’m a little worried about it,” McMurray said.
Target officials did not offer information about this potential impact.
Village Administrator Drew Irvin said Thursday a public hearing to consider establishing a planned commercial development may come before the Plan Commission/Zoning Board of Appeals at its April 17 meeting. A decision on the text amendment would be forwarded to the Village Board, which has final approval.