Mushrooms are expected to replace chickens in North Barrington, as a controversial plan for a large poultry farm in the village appears dead, the town's leader said Wednesday.
Village President Albert Pino addressed the new proposal for the southwest corner of Scott Road and Route 59 during the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Economic Summit. Pino was part of a roster of nine area government leaders who attended the breakfast gathering at Barrington's White House.
According to the initial proposal for the North Barrington site, Anoosh and Alberta Varda wanted to raise chicks to when they turned 12 to 14 weeks old, then have them shipped to producers when they are considered broilers, or chickens raised for food. North Barrington's advisory zoning board of appeals rejected the plan last year.
Now, instead of the potential for 21,000 chickens being raised near homes, Pino said, the owners of the 5-acre parcel hope to start a mushroom-growing operation. He said the "chicken ranch" was withdrawn after about 70 residents objected at the zoning panel hearing in late May.
"I've met with (the owners) and encouraged them to form another use of the property," Pino said. "And they're going to start a mushroom farm now. And this will be entirely indoors and entirely better for the community. Instead of zero employees, they're going to have 25 to 50 employees when it's going full time."
North Barrington still needs to work on engineering and other matters before the plan is formally presented to elected officials, Pino said.
Some other highlights from village leaders who were in the spotlight at the economic summit include:
• Barrington Village President Karen Darch said construction is scheduled to begin in the spring on a traffic signal at the Grove Avenue-Dundee Road intersection just east of Motor Werks. The village has been seeking a traffic light for several years at the intersection where there is great difficulty turning from Grove onto Dundee.
"That's huge not only for post office users and residents, but other ... businesses as well," she said.
• Deer Park Village Administrator Beth McAndrews said residents are filling the town's first rental residential complex and that a grant has been received to help in tree replacement.
Upscale townhouses and apartments have drawn strong interest at Deer Park Crossing, she said. The complex is on the southern edge of Deer Park Town Center.
McAndrews said Deer Park was awarded a $15,000 community forestry assistance grant from the state, which requires an equal match from the village.
"For us, it's $30,000 in trees that'll be going in the village this spring," she said. "That'll make a big difference because we've taken down so many trees. We've taken down hundreds of trees the last few years in our village parks and right-of-ways due to safety (concerns) and disease."
• Kildeer Village President Nandia Black entertained the chamber crowd by singing the top achievements -- to the tune "Everything's Coming Up Roses" from the musical "Gypsy" -- in her town over the past year.
"Everything's coming up M/I Homes," Black sang as she headed toward the finish. "Everything's coming up finance awards. Everything's coming up Moody bond Triple-A. Everything's coming up roses for us in Kildeer."
Last year, Black captured the crowd's attention when she touched on the village's 2017 commercial development highlights by singing her version of "December 1963 (Oh, What A Night)" by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
Officials from Long Grove, Barrington Hills, Lake Barrington, Port Barrington and South Barrington also attended the chamber gathering.