Plans for the first large-scale, age-restricted community for active adults in Lindenhurst have been approved, with work to start soon on a project expected to generate other opportunities.
"It's going to fill a gap," Mayor Dominic Marturano said of Briargate, a maintenance-free, single-level-living subdivision. "We don't have anything like that in our community."
The plan will keep residents in town and attract new ones, including empty nesters who want to downsize or those who no longer want to be responsible for property maintenance, Marturano said.
"It was a niche I felt we needed to fill," he said.
With 228 detached single-family houses, Briargate is a departure from the original proposal that prompted the controversial annexation more than 13 years ago.
Village Green had ignited months of heated discussions and packed public hearings. The eventual revised plan called for up to 447,000 square feet of retail space and as many as 838 houses on 200 acres north and west of Route 132 (Grand Avenue) and Route 45.
The annexation to accommodate the immense proposal was described by then Mayor James Betustak as "the most important day in the history of the village."
But Village Green fizzled and the property has remained vacant. Plans for Briargate began percolating two to three years ago.
In May 2019, village officials rezoned and granted other approvals requested by the current property owner, Northern Plains LLC, for about 100 acres of the western portion of the original Village Green area.
Pulte Home Co. LLC has a contract to buy that portion of the property and expects to begin development work July 6. A grand opening is anticipated in January.
Final approvals authorized June 22 by the village board reduced the number of houses from 231 to 228, added a clubhouse to the development and allowed for the removal of more trees than allowed by code because of significant wetlands that present challenges in establishing buildable lots.
Materials submitted by Pulte said Briargate will have "the best backyard views of any community in Lake County."
About half the site will remain as open space and feature a network connecting to the regional Millennium Trail & Greenway.
Approvals also modified the rear yard setback from 25 feet to 19 feet and established a straight Briargate Boulevard as the primary access from Route 45.
The bottom line is the village finally expects to see activity on the long dormant area. Marturano said he expects commercial development, likely smaller centers, on the remaining 100 acres east of Briargate, although no proposals have been made.
Village Administrator Clay Johnson said the village is not providing an incentive to Pulte, although certain impact fees have been tiered to promote construction in the early years of the development.