(CBS) — A fight is brewing over private land in the southwest suburbs.
It’s Lemont versus Palos Park. As CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports, homeowners aren’t the only ones putting on the boxing gloves.
For 14 years, Bernie Evenhouse has enjoyed the tranquility of the Cog Hill Golf and Country Club that sits across from his Lemont subdivision.
“I see a deer come here one day,” he says. “It’s kinda nice to have some open land, open property.”
The last thing he and his neighbors want is this privately owned land, which actually includes three country clubs and the Ludwig Farms, turned into residential and commercial developments.
The 2,000 acres of unincorporated land borders Lemont to the west, but east of the forest preserve is Palos Park. Since Lemont homeowners have raised objections, land owners want to be annexed by the village of Palos Park, but to do so they need the county to make a sliver of land a part of Palos Park too.
Angry Lemont residents recently packed a Cook County board meeting objecting to a vote that could pave the way for the landowners to move to Palos Park. They say the development would still be next to Lemont and burden village services, like libraries, parks, police and schools.
“Schools take the first brunt of anything that happens when you have uncontrolled growth and that’s one of the biggest reasons we want to stop this,” says Lemont Mayor Brian Reaves.
“Today I appear as one of those greedy land owners who want to make all kinds of money,” said Mike McNulty, part of the family that owns Gleneagles Country Club.
McNulty may have made that statement in jest, but he painted a picture Lemont officials unwilling to compromise on any development plan owners suggested, which is why they’re talking to Palos Park.
Officials in Palos promise to listen to everyone.
“We are not about to do a poor quality development,” said Palos Park Mayor John Mahoney.
The decision from the county is expected next month.
The county has its own agenda, there’s a police substation on the sliver of land that’s being discussed. If the county takes no action, that station continues to get well water from Lemont. If it annexes the property to Palos Park, it gets access to Lake Michigan water, which some board members favor.