Annexation may protect Millburn
by Barbara Bell, Staff Writer
The day may come when residents of Millburn have
to decide whether to annex to Lindenhurst or Old Mill
Creek if they want to protect their historic community.
There are plans to widen U.S. Route 45, which cuts
through the heart of Millburn. But Millburn is on the
National Register of Historic Places, which is
supposed to prevent a highway from being widened through
the community, said Dorothy Fettinger, chairwoman
of the Millburn Selectmen.
Also knocking on Millburn's door is Old Mill Creek,
a village of less than 100 that's projected to grow to
16,000 in 30 years.
Then there's the possibility of heavy traffic generated
by riverboat gambling in Antioch Township, if the
Fox Riverboat Limited Partnership be granted a license
from the Illinois Gaming Board, and the construction
of Abbott Laboratories' new research facility along
state Route 173.
In short, there are pressures to change Millburn
from the bucolic community it is to a busy place.
But Millburn residents want to protect their community.
Toward that end, both Lindenhurst and Old Mill Creek have
included Millburn in their comprehensive plans.
Lindenhurst's comprehensive plan calls for moving Route 45
to the east. Konstantine Savoy of Teska Associates, the firm
that prepared Lindenhurst's plan, said moving Route to
the west would put the road close to where it is now.
That could disturb Millburn's peaceful atmosphere
due to the volume of traffic, Savoy said.
In addition, Lindenhurst's comprehensive plan
calls for establishing a greenbelt around Millburn
using existing wetland, flood plains and stands of
The key is to keep Millburn from becoming overdeveloped,
Savoy said. Millburn would be allowed to expand, but the housing
would be low density to preserve its historic character.
New developments would be required to have architectural
style consistent with that already established in Millburn.
Modest retail development would be allowed to
serve tourists and Lindenhurst, Millburn and Old Mill Creek,
Old Mill Creek's comprehensive plan would move Route 45 to the
west, said John LaMotte of Chicago, who prepared the plan. "It
would be a much better and straighter roadway," he said.
The old Route 45 would become a main street. "It'd be a lot
more like a small town," LaMotte said.
Millburn also would be allowed to have mixed retail
use if it were annexed by Old Mill Creek.
No road money
Les Swieca, a program director section chief for the
Illinois Department of Transportation, said an engineering study is
currently being done on the possibility of widening Route
45 near the proposed extension of Route 53 through
Grayslake to the Wisconsin border. But, "There is no
funding in place to build this," he said. "The process
itself takes several years."
Swieca said it's possible a bypass could be built
around Millburn and IDOT is studying the options of
locating it to the west or east.
"This village has to be saved," Fettinger said of Millburn at
a meeting last week with officials from Lindenhurst and Old
Mill Creek present. "If we don't start planning for it now
I will be in my grave and there will traffic bumper to bumper,"
Fettinger said she would prefer Route 45 be moved to the west,
although Lake County Board member Suzi Schmidt, R-Lake Villa, has
said that could mean the road would go through the
McDonald Woods Forest Preserve.
Even if the road bypasses Millburn, Fettinger said
there is concern that the community will be adversely
affected by "hodge-podge" development. She said it's possible
Millburn could be annexed in pieces to both Lindenhurst
and Old Mill Creek, which is something she doesn't want
to happen because it would break up the community's
"It will be a different way of life from the one we now
have. But I think we all realize it's not going to stay
rural," Fettinger said of the expected development.
Savoy said Millburn could stop Route 45 from
being widened. Wayne, a rural community in the
fast-growing Fox Valley south of Elgin, has kept
Army Trail Road from being widened to four lanes through
the village, he said. But Wayne has two historic districts that
have prevented the road improvements, Savoy said.
If Millburn residents are "pro-active and aggressive" they could
keep Route 45 from being widened through the community or
force the Illinois Department of Transportation to build a
bypass around it, Savoy said. "I think that's a possibility,"