Advanced Search

Evanston RoundTable | Evanston, IL
Autobarn


home : opinion : opinion/editorial May 25, 2017

5/17/2017 6:07:00 PM
Editorial: We Oppose an Easement to Build a Road Through Isabella Woods
Update
At its May 18 meeting, the MWRD Board unanimously rejected the request for the easement.

In the 1980s, the Keefe Family Trust (“Keefe”) began acquiring property in Wilmette that was essentially landlocked. Years ago, when Keefe proposed building two houses on the property, the trust negotiated an easement with the CTA that would provide ingress and egress, but it was found to be too narrow to allow emergency vehicles to turn around.

Keefe recently said it has a buyer for the property who, a representative of the trust has said, would like to build four 12,000-square-foot homes there. Lacking ingress to and egress from the property, Keefe has engaged Illinois Senate President John Cullerton as its lawyer.

To get ingress to and egress from the property, Keefe and Cullerton now want to cross through Isabella Woods, a small oak forest owned by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and leased to the City of Evanston.

The City, whose lease will expire in 2032, has refused to consent to MWRD’s granting an easement to construct a road through Isabella Woods. At the May 15 City Council meeting, aldermen unanimously approved a resolution opposing the easement.

Keefe has also pursued a second tact. A provision of the MWRD lease with the City of Evanston allows the construction of roads under certain conditions “for the use of any other governmental agency engaged in the construction of highways and roadways ... the Lessee shall surrender the possession of such part of the demised premises that may be so required.”

Keefe and/or Mr. Cullerton convinced Cook County to request an easement from MWRD to enable the County to construct a road about 255 feet in length through Isabella Woods, which would provide ingress and egress to the private development.

While it has been said that construction and maintenance costs would be paid by the developer, this sounds like the County is wielding its power to help a wealthy developer get richer. One wonders why the County is getting involved in this private matter.

It is true that there may be no financial cost to the County, but there are other, and, we think, more serious costs to be considered: the destruction of Isabella Woods, a tiny gem of an oak forest; the removal of more than 50 trees, some of which are 200 years old and could live another century longer; the loss of a bird and wildlife habitat; and the many the ecological benefits of this parcel of land. 

MWRD’s mission centers around water, and Isabella Woods diverts about 110,000 gallons of stormwater annually. What will a decimated woods and a paved road do for the environment?

We trust the MWRD Commissioners will remember their commitment to the environment and to the people of Greater Chicago and not give in and allow private interests to interfere with their mission.

We urge them to deny the request for the easement.







Article Comment Submission Form

The RoundTable will try to post comments within a few hours, but there may be a longer delay at times. Comments containing mean-spirited, libelous or ad hominem attacks will not be posted.

Note: Your full name is required. Your telephone number and e-mail will not be posted. You may type your comments in the space below, or you may type them in a word document and cut and paste them in the space below.

Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Required
Last Name:
Required
Telephone:
Required
Email:
Required
Comment:
Required
Passcode:
Required
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.
   



Click to View Upcoming Events
<May>
SMTWTFS
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31      
Submit Event







HomeVideosCommunity PostsObituariesClassifiedsAdvertiseAbout UsContact UsHow To
Galileo Summer Camps

Copyright 2008-17 - Evanston RoundTable LLC, Evanston, IL 60202, 847-864-7741, All Rights Reserved
Software © 1998-2017 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved


: