The Village Voice
News from the Village of Vernon Hills
May 8, 2020
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In This Issue of
the Village Voice

  • Restore Illinois
  • Summer Events Cancelled
  • Pageant Still On
  • Virtual Memorial Day
  • Road Rehab
  • Metra Changes
  • Village Board Actions
  • Budget Cuts
  • Development 
  • Hawthorn Mall
  • No TIF
  • TIF Registry
  • New CFO
  • New Store
  • Invicto Outdoors
  • Thanks Teachers, Police and PW
  • Meetings Go Virtual
  • P&Z Comments
  • Reach Out for Support

Village Voice eNews

The Village Voice eNewsletter is provided as a service of the Village of Vernon Hills. This eNewsletter is distributed once or twice each month, or as information dictates. You may manage your subscription at the bottom of the page. Please direct your comments to

Keep In Touch


Restore Illinois 

On May 5, Governor Pritzker issued a five phase plan to reopen Illinois on a region-by-region basis. We are currently in Phase 2, and the earliest any region could enter Phase 3 will be May 29. Learn more by reviewing the Restore Illinois plan. 
This year's 4th of July Parade and Fireworks, as well as other summer events, have been cancelled due to public health mandates.

Summer Schedule Suspended

Vernon Hills has followed state mandates, as well as other local communities, in cancelling summer events including the Fourth of July Parade and Fireworks, the Arbortheater Summer Concerts, and Summer Celebration. Trustees discussed the topic during the May 5 Village Board Meeting, and agreed to formally vote on their decision during the next Village Board meeting on May 19. Village Manager Mark Fleischhauer shared that he was still holding out hope for gathering again during a Village Oktoberfest celebration later in the fall, possibly in conjunction with the Vernon Hills Park District. In addition to following mandates and promoting best practices for public health, cancelling these summer activities will save approximately $200,000 in expenses. (Vernon Hills Village Board Meeting - 5/5/20)

Vernon Hills Pageant Still A Go

Vernon Hills Pageant Co-Directors Karen Kalinowski and Kelly O'Bryan report that they have worked out several contingency plans for the 2020 Village Pageant, and encourage young people to complete the online application by May 29. Families are also encouraged to learn more by participating in a Zoom meeting on May 12 starting at 5 p.m. Join the meeting with ID 561 900 3368 and Password "Pageant" or use the meeting link, which is also available on the Pageant website,

Virtual Memorial Day Remembrance

Our local veterans are working on a virtual remembrance to commemorate Memorial Day. Watch for information on future Village Voice eNewsletters and on the Village website,

Road Rehab Reminder

This year's Road Rehabilitation Project is underway, with contractors first tackling concrete work – including the removal of curb, gutter and sidewalks. The project covers Sugar Creek, Hawthorn Club (Camden, Cherry Valley Alley, Southgate, Tally Ho, Chesterfield and Danbury), Olde Grove Farm and Westmoreland Drive between Route 83 and East Lakeside Drive.

Neighbors in Georgetown Square, the southern portion of Hawthorn Club, River Grove and Augusta Green are asked to refrain from parking on their streets to support the completion of the Reclamite coating. This top coat will help prolong the life of the asphalt on these neighborhood streets, which were just repaved last year. For additional information and FAQs on this process, please refer to the Resident Letter provided by our contractor.

Updates and information on all road projects are posted on the Annual Road Rehabilitation Project webpage, as well as on social media each Friday. f you have any questions or concerns, please contact Project Coordinator and Engineering Technician Steven Maslov at or Administrative Assistant Carissa Hansen at between the hours of 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Thank you for your patience and cooperation during this project.

Metra Saturday Schedule

Starting Saturday, May 9, Metra has adjusted most weekend service schedules to follow the Sunday schedule for both Saturday and Sunday. This change is in response to dramatically low ridership due to the pandemic. Metra also reminds riders of a reduction in service for the North Central Service, which runs through Vernon Hills. The adjusted North Central Service timetable is in effect until further notice. For more information, visit
Centennial Real Estate has announced tentative plans to begin demolition of the former Carson's building within a matter of weeks. Construction is also expected to begin on three outlots along Milwaukee Avenue as well as on Ring Drive. Note that at this time there is no Tax Increment Finance District (TIF) in place, nor have any developer agreements been created.

Village Board Actions

Here is an overview of some of the items discussed at the last Village Board Meeting, held via Zoom conference on May 5. A recording of this Board Meeting (as well as previous meetings) appears on our Village YouTube page – Vernon Hills Village Board Meeting - 5/5/20

Summer Schedule Changes: As mentioned earlier in this eNewsletter, the Board agreed to cancel summer events including Arbortheater Concerts, the Fourth of July Parade and Fireworks, and Summer Celebration. This decision follows state mandates and supports public health directives to maintain social distance and refrain from gathering in large groups.

Budget Cuts: Village Manager Mark Fleischhauer outlined a selection of items for Trustees to consider for elimination or deferral from this year's budget. Trustees approved belt-tightening measures totaling $2.5 million. Staff and Trustees will continue to monitor and adjust.

Development Continues: Village Manager Mark Fleischhauer took a moment to offer encouragement in that unlike the recession ten years ago, there are numerous developments, buildings and projects still underway, or in the planning stages with construction soon to follow. He listed projects including ReWaterway Carwash renovations, SLYCE Pizza (expected to open in Melody Farm by June 1), Panda Express on Townline Road, and West Elm Furniture and Buttermilk Cafe in Mellody Farm. The Philharmonic recording studio building has received concept approval, while Baxter Credit Union has received approval for an extensive landscape redesign. Panattoni Development will appear before the Planning & Zoning Commission in early June to request approval for a 900,000 square foot light industrial project on the former Darling Farm property. Residential single family building permit applications exceed the number of requests for the same period last year. In addition, proposals have been received for development of empty parcels as well as redevelopment of existing buildings.

Hawthorn Mall Redevelopment Moving Forward: Hawthorn Mall redevelopment continues to push forward, with owner Centennial Real Estate moving quickly to take advantage of the construction season. In the next few weeks, residents may see construction fence going up around the former Carson's portion of the mall, with demolition tentatively scheduled to begin by June 1 and lasting approximately 3 months. Construction is also tentatively scheduled to begin soon on three buildings on outlots along Milwaukee Avenue. Plans for that new construction were reviewed in late 2018 and subsequently approved early last year. As part of that work, contractors will also begin reconfiguring Ring Drive as well as connections to Milwaukee Avenue. Once Carson's is demolished, the current plan from Centennial is for contractors to begin building a 70,000 square foot retail building. By September 1, Centennial has tentative plans to begin demolition of the former Sears portion of the Mall. (Special Meeting of the Committee of the Whole 11-27-2018)

No TIF/Agreements: Staff and Trustees made it clear that while Centennial is moving forward on work to redevelop, there is no TIF district in place nor have any developer agreements been reached. Village Attorney Jim Ferolo indicated that discussions among all taxing bodies might begin as early as June, and will include all directly impacted partners, including the schools, fire department, park district, library and other community affiliates. Once that group has had time to work out a proposal, the Village will host a Public Hearing, which could be scheduled as soon as July.

TIF Registry: The Village is developing a process through which all interested parties will automatically receive communications regarding any proposed or existing Tax Increment Finance Districts within the Village. Sign up for the new TIF Registry should be available shortly through the Village website (
New CFO: Village Manager Mark Fleischhauer introduced new CFO Kyle Cratty, who is part of Lauterbach & Amen, the firm that provides outsourced financial and accounting services to the Village. Kyle's email is

Liquor License for Rutvi Enterprices: During the Liquor & License Commission Hearing, which preceeded the May 5 Board Meeting, Commissioners approved a Class "N" Liquor License for Vernon Convenient Store, which will open at 145 Townline Road. The petitioner was previously involved in the 7-Eleven franchise on that site. When the 7-Eleven organization ended franchise agreements for those stores that did not have gas pumps, Rutvi Enterprises made plans for a similar independent convenience store, which is expected to open soon.

Invicto Outdoor Seating: During the Committee of the Whole Meeting, Trustees approved a section of outdoor seating for Invicto, 887 N. Milwaukee Avenue. Five tables will be located on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant on the east side of the building. 

Thank You, Teachers: The Village recognized National Teacher Week (May 4 through 8) with a proclamation thanking all teachers for their efforts, especially as teachers, students and families learn to navigate remote learning.

National Police Week: The Village also recognized National Police Week, which begins May 10, as well as Peace Officer's Memorial Day, on May 15.

Public Works Proclamation: Village President Roger Byrne proclaimed the week of May 17 as Public Works Week.

Village Meets Via Teleconference

Residents are reminded that to support social distancing and public health mandates, Village meetings have moved to virtual Zoom teleconferences. Instructions for logging into each meeting are provided with each agenda, which is posted on the Village Agenda Center webpage prior to each meeting. Residents wishing to provide public comment are asked to send an email to by 6:45 p.m. on the evening of the meeting to be included in that meeting's public comment time.

The Village will continue to follow this format until mandates and best practices determine it is appropriate to return to traditional gatherings at Village Hall. Upcoming Village Board Meetings are planned for May 19, June 2, June 16 and July 7. In addition, the Village Planning & Zoning Commission will meet on May 13. Instructions for viewing and providing public comment to that meeting are outlined below.


Planning & Zoning Meets May 13

The Village Planning & Zoning Commission is scheduled to meet via Zoom conference beginning at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 13. Attendees are welcome to watch/listen via the Zoom virtual conferencing platform. Those wishing to make public comment are asked to follow the process outlined below. Topics are expected to include Comprehensive Plan Amendment and Hawthorn District 73 Middle School additions, with a full agenda posted on the Village Agenda Center webpage (under Planning & Zoning Commission) no later than the day before the meeting. 

To View Planning & Zoning Meeting:

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

Password: 925591

Or Telephone:
Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 876 9923 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 669 900 6833 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 408 638 0968 
Webinar ID: 884 9383 8521
Password: 925591

International numbers available:

To Provide Comment to Planning & Zoning:

There are three options available for providing comment to the Planning & Zoning Commission:

  1. Email Comments: Send an email with your input to Community Development Director Michael Atkinson at before 4 p.m. on May 13. Comments will be read into the record and addressed by Commissioners during the meeting.
  2. Request Virtual Comment Opportunity: Send an email to Community Development Director Michael Atkinson at before 4 p.m. on May 13 requesting to be recognized as a presenter during the Zoom meeting, thus allowing you to provide comment remotely through the Zoom platform. Please indicate which agenda item you would like to address, and provide your email address and/or phone number so the host can identify you and provide you with audio capability at the appropriate time during the Zoom meeting.
  3. Request On-Site Comment Opportunity: Send an email to Community Development Director Michael Atkinson at before 4 p.m. on May 13 requesting the ability to appear in person at Village Hall in order to provide your comments during the meeting. Note that we anticipate that only the Planning & Zoning Commission Chairperson will be physically present, and there will be no in-person audience allowed. Rather, individuals on-site at the Village Hall will be required to wait in the lobby and meeting rooms (maintaining social distance and following current public health mandates), then be called one-by-one to provide testimony through a computer station set up in the Board Room to allow comments to be shared as part of the Zoom meeting.

Questions on Planning & Zoning issues? Contact Community Development Director Michael Atkinson at


211 Lake County

Get Help – and Give Help!

The Lake County 211 Resource Center has support and information on a variety of topics
. The site also offers opportunities for people who want to volunteer. Visit – or call or text to 211.


Ever since I made
my favorite day,
I have been uncomfortable
looking back. 

– Paul Harvey

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