Subarea Plans

Two major subareas have been identified as the focus for more detailed consideration in the Comprehensive Plan: the Burr Ridge Corporate Park and the German Church Road subarea. Shown in Figure 4: Subareas Map, these subareas, one wholly within the Village and one lying within Burr Ridge’s planning area, represent the most significant remaining opportunities for additional economic and residential growth. The appropriate development of these areas is critical to the maintenance of Burr Ridge as a prestigious business address and an upscale residential community.

The subarea plans are based on three major goals, as articulated in the Goals and Objectives section of the Comprehensive Plan. These are:  

  • Facilitate development of the vacant parcels in the Burr Ridge Corporate Park.
  • Upgrade and renovate County Line Square to create an attractive and pedestrian oriented development that includes a wide range of neighborhood/convenience shopping and institutional uses consistent with the needs of the community.
  • Annex the German-Church Road subarea to Burr Ridge and ensure that its development is sensitive to the significant natural features of the site. 

5.1 The Burr Ridge Corporate Park Subarea

The Burr Ridge Corporate Park occupies one of the most prominent locations in Burr Ridge. Located adjacent to the Interstate Route I-55 and County Line Road interchange, the Corporate Park presents many visitors with their first image of Burr Ridge.

The Burr Ridge Corporate Park subarea is approximately 143 acres in size and includes the County Line Square shopping area, adjacent Pace Park-n-Ride facility, and both vacant development parcels as well as improved office and commercial buildings located to the north of County Line Square.  The Burr Ridge Corporate Park was originally part of the Bridewell Prison Farm property that was annexed to the Village of Burr Ridge in 1982. The intent was to build a mixed use development that included office/research uses, a campus office park, residential uses, a hotel, and a community-oriented shopping center. The residential uses have been built outside what is now referred to as the Burr ridge Corporate Park.

The Corporate Park Subarea plan represents a refinement of the land use designations contained in the original annexation agreement for this area, and reflects current development trends and market potential.  Figure 5:  Illustrative Concept Plan - Corporate Park Subarea illustrates a range of possible uses and their recommended location within the Burr Ridge Corporate Park subarea. The intent of the subarea plan is to establish a viable mix of destination-oriented uses that meet the needs of Burr Ridge residents and office workers, and enhances the overall image of the community.  Office is the preferred use for most of the remaining vacant land. This use represents a departure from the underlying L-1 Light Industrial zoning which is currently in place for a major portion of the Corporate Park Subarea. While office uses are allowed under the present zoning, industrial uses are also permitted which are not consistent with the development pattern that has been encouraged in the Corporate Park Subarea since its annexation into the Village of Burr Ridge. Consequently, the Village should encourage rezoning land within the Corporate Park to appropriate office classifications to reflect existing uses and accommodate desirable future developments.

As stated earlier, the Corporate Park has a central and prominent location within Burr Ridge. Its location, and the existing underdeveloped land area presents a rare opportunity to develop a town center in the Village. Such a town center might help establish a sense of community by creating a visually distinctive and central Village Square that provides shared commercial and institutional facilities. Perhaps the most important element in this effort is the transformation of County Line Square from an unattractive, poorly laid-out and underutilized shopping center into a desirable community shopping area that provides the type of town center amenities that many Burr Ridge residents desire. A conceptual design for County Line Square is discussed in greater detail below. The Village Square could be further emphasized by expanding the commercial or institutional facilities to the north of County Line Square. This would result in County Line Square, the existing restaurant north of the Square, and the vacant parcel east of the restaurant forming a consolidated and coherent Village Square.

While portions of the original mixed use project have been built, much of the land within the Burr Ridge Corporate Park remains vacant. Lack of commercial development interest is primarily due to the location of the Corporate Park in Cook County, which has different assessment practices and significantly higher property tax rates than the section of Burr Ridge in DuPage County.  The equalized assessed value of commercial property located in the Cook County portion of Burr Ridge is typically more than double that of similarly valued commercial property located in DuPage County. Several potential developments could emerge if the Village is able to provide the necessary development incentives to overcome this tax differential.

The Village of Burr Ridge established a tax increment financing (TIF) district in 1998 to spur commercial development of several key parcels of vacant land within the Burr Ridge Corporate Park. Office uses and the currently planned hotel uses are the preferred land uses for vacant land within the Burr Ridge Parkway Redevelopment Project Area. Because these uses typically do not produce significant sales tax or other revenues that the Village could rebate as a development incentive, tax increment financing was identified as the most desirable short-term means of attracting the development intended to support the long-term economic base of local tax districts.

Since the TIF typically limits the growth of tax revenues resulting from new development to school districts and other tax districts for a period of years, the boundaries of the tax increment financing district were drawn to include only a portion of the Corporate Park. Parcels included within the TIF district were chosen because of their strategic location within the Corporate Park and their eligibility under the State’s TIF criteria. Development incentives are expected to be used to attract desired office uses and a hotel use to the area. However, once a “critical development mass” has been achieved, the intent is to rely on normal market forces to attract additional users to other vacant and underutilized property within the Burr Ridge Corporate Park, which will directly benefit all local tax districts. The Comprehensive Plan endorses the development strategies and tax increment financing techniques recommended by the Burr Ridge Parkway Redevelopment Plan and Project.

County Line Square Redevelopment Concept

County Line Square is located within the Burr Ridge Corporate Park, in the southeast corner of the intersection of County Line Road and Burr Ridge Parkway.  This 7.2 acre parcel consists of a large parking expanse in the front, a linear retail building along the southern edge and a detention basin in the western corner.  The retail center includes several destination stores, a dry cleaner, and restaurants. The center is currently functioning at below capacity as evident from several vacancies and the underused parking lot. The large central former grocery store is also among the vacancies. The layout and design of the square does not promote pedestrian activity and appears to lack the vitality to sustain a successful Village shopping center.

The Comprehensive Plan recommends upgrading and renovating County Line Square to create a well-defined and attractive pedestrian-oriented development. This could be achieved by changing the existing open, strip like character of the Square to a more enclosed shopping area, oriented around central courts. This would promote synergy between the storefronts and make the Square more pedestrian friendly. Additional improvements could include defining the entrance to the center, improving the visibility from County Line Road, facade improvements, landscaping and development of the detention pond as an attractive public space. An illustrative site plan and commercial center sketch are shown in Figures 6 & 7.

A wide range of commercial developments should be encouraged in County Line Square. These could range from restaurants to convenience retail that provides for the day-to-day shopping needs of residents (groceries, pharmacy, etc.) as well as comparison retail that includes less frequently purchased items (apparel, household furnishings, appliances, etc.). Retail services like beauty salons, dry cleaners, and dentist offices could also be located here. Other potential uses could include institutional facilities such as a public library facility and community activity centers.

The redevelopment and repositioning of County Line Square as an attractive town center, represents one of the biggest development challenges that will face the Village in the coming years. However, it also represents a unique opportunity for Village officials to act proactively in creating the kind of community focal point that many residents believe is currently missing in Burr Ridge.

Several alternative approaches could be adopted to implement the recommended improvements to County Line Square. The Village could create brochures and other publicity material to inform potential developers of the opportunities and incentives within the area. The Village could also consider offering sales tax rebate as these would be the most feasible implementation strategies as they would encourage development while not imposing an excessive financial burden on the Village.

The Village could also play a proactive role in the redevelopment of County Line Square. It could act as the developer, acquiring and redeveloping the land within the shopping center. This approach would give the Village total control as to the type and timing of the development. However, this would imply a large financial commitment by the Village and a level of risk, which it might be unable or unwilling to assume. In order for this approach to succeed, an experienced retail development partner will be needed.

Finally, the Village could take the “hands-off” approach, and wait for developer(s) to show interest in redeveloping County Line Square. This approach while resulting in the least amount of financial burden on the Village, would also imply almost no control as to the timing of the development.  

5.2 The German Church Road Subarea

The German Church Road subarea consists of approximately 432 acres of unincorporated land which is located south of German Church Road and east of County Line Road. This portion of Burr Ridge’s planning area contains rolling terrain punctuated by areas of steep slopes, woodlands and floodplains. Portions of this area have developed for residential purposes under Cook County zoning.

Both the Village of Willow Springs and the Village of Burr Ridge have expressed interest in annexing this area to their respective communities, with the continued residential development of the area being a common goal. Flagg Creek appears to be the most logical boundary for an annexation agreement between Burr Ridge and Willow Springs. As a matter of policy, the Village of Burr Ridge has designated Flagg Creek as the limit of its planning area to the southeast of the current municipal boundaries. Additional study of the development pattern of the existing Cook County subdivisions in this subarea may also help to define an appropriate annexation agreement boundary.

Recognizing that Burr Ridge is a community of identified subdivisions, new development within this subarea should take on a specific residential character that is consistent with the lot sizes of surrounding developments such as Arrowhead Farm. It is also desirable that new residential subdivisions take advantage of the unique characteristics of the terrain. This suggests a need for a variety of lot sizes and the use of transfer of density within a traditional subdivision to preserve open space.

The preferred approach in the German Church Road subarea is a mix of lot sizes, averaging 30,000 square feet in size, organized in a typical subdivision format. Larger lot subdivisions will also be encouraged. This site planning approach is reflected by the currently proposed Highland Fields development. Highland Fields is a major residential development which will occupy most of the central portion of the German Church Road subarea. It includes approximately 83 dwellings on a 75 acre site.

The development of the remaining German Church Road subarea is suggested by the illustrative plan shown in Figure 8: Illustrative Concept Plan - German Church Road Subarea. As evident, the proposed layout and lot sizes of the site are largely dictated by the Highland Fields development. Important elements of the conceptual site plan are the proposed circulation links and pathway interconnections between new subdivisions and existing developments in this area, such as Arrowhead Farm and Highland Fields. The plan also proposes several linkages between the new residential developments so that the area does not develop as a collection of isolated subdivisions. Flagg Creek is proposed to define the natural eastern limits of the Village. The illustrative plan proposes to limit development adjacent to the Creek, in order to preserve its natural wooded character.

A system of pathways and trails has been proposed, with the main spine running east along the Northern Illinois Gas Company right-of-way, north along Flagg Creek, and branching off in a northwest direction to join with an existing trail system along German Church Road.  A network of pedestrian trails is also proposed to link the various residential subdivisions.

Community open space, including the location of at least one neighborhood park intended for active recreation, should be encouraged within the German-Church Road Subarea. The Village and Pleasant Dale Park District should jointly identify alternative locations for a park site approximately five acres in size. The acquisition of park land will ensure that the area is adequately served as new residential subdivisions are built. 

Implementation

Several strategies can be used to achieve the desired development within the German Church Road subarea.

  1. The Zoning Ordinance should be used to regulate the lot sizes and density of the residential development within the subarea, so that it is compatible with the character of the adjacent neighborhoods. The subdivision and development approval process should ensure that future development respects the topography of the site and includes high quality residential design.
  2. Residential development should respect the unique natural features and topography of the site. Conservation easements could be used to preserve the natural wooded areas. These are discussed in greater detail in the Land Use chapter of the Plan. Furthermore, the provisions under the County Line Overlay District could be used to ensure that development preserves and enhances the rural character along County Line Road.
  3. Future residential subdivisions should be interconnected by a system of streets and pathways. The Pathway Commission should ensure that adequate interconnections are provided, consistent with the policies recommended by the Pathway Plan. The Pathway Plan is included in the Transportation and Circulation chapter of the Comprehensive Plan.

5.2.1    AMENDMENT TO THE GERMAN CHURCH ROAD SUB-AREA

Subsequent to the adoption of the Village of Burr Ridge Comprehensive Plan on April 12, 1999, several actions have occurred in the German Church Road Sub-Area that have caused the Burr Ridge Plan Commission to reconsider the plan for the particular area at the southeast corner of German Church Road and County Line Road.  The area being reconsidered consists of 59 acres located south of German Church Road and east of County Line Road.  It is bounded by the Arrowhead Farm Subdivision to the east and the Highland Fields Subdivision to the south.

Subsequent to adoption of the Comprehensive Plan, the Highland Fields Subdivision has been annexed and developed and other annexations have caused this area to be completely surrounded by the Burr Ridge corporate limits.  As a result, the Village Board of Trustees has initiated actions to unilaterally annex this area.   Additionally, there was an estate-type home built within the 59-acre area on a five- acre parcel, and the Village has received inquiries from individual property owners including another estate-style home and a proposed subdivision with one-acre lots.  The discrepancy between these various development proposals, i.e. subdivision development versus estate homes, has spurred the Plan Commission to reconsider the plan for this area and establish a more detailed plan that will provide specific direction to property owners and developers interested in future land use and development of this particular area.

Existing Conditions

The most significant conditions that impact the future development of this 59-acre area are the existence of substantial woodlands, ravines, and wildlife in its northern 40 acres (eight parcels). These environmental conditions have been the primary inspiration for the estate-style homes that have existed in the area and for the new estate homes recently built or proposed.  Field surveys and aerial photographs have confirmed the environmental conditions prevalent within the northern 40 acres of this area and statements from property owners within the area have confirmed the desirability of preserving this environment.

The southern 19 acres (four parcels) have a substantially different topography and environment than the northern 40 acres.  These four parcels are relatively flat, and existing trees are limited to the periphery of the parcels.  The flat, open areas on these parcels have been maintained by homeowners as yard areas.  There are three homes on the property all of which are quality homes but may be undervalued compared to the underlying land values.

Public Utilities and Infrastructure

The entire 59- acre area is currently not serviced by public water or sanitary sewer.  Upon annexation into the Village of Burr Ridge, all of the properties should be able to access the Village’s public water supply system.  There are currently water mains on German Church Road and County Line Road.  These water mains are subject to recapture fees, but there do not appear to be any physical limitations to providing water service to this area.

Public sanitary sewer service is inherently more difficult to provide than public water.  Although there are sanitary sewer service lines on County Line Road at Deer Path Trail and at Hidden Lake Drive, those services are provided by the DuPage County Public Works Department, and the subject area is within the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.  Recent correspondence from both agencies has indicated that it may be possible to connect the County Line Road parcels to the DuPage County sanitary sewer.  The east half of the subject 59 acres may be serviced by a sanitary sewer stub located at the west edge of the adjacent Arrowhead Farm Subdivision.  Alternately, the Village of Burr Ridge Zoning Ordinance permits requests for private sanitary sewer systems for properties equal to or exceeding one acre and 150 feet wide subject to Village Board approval upon showing that access to a public sewer is not practical and a commitment is provided to connect to public sewer within six months after it becomes available.

In summary, it appears that public utilities may be accessible for this area.  Private sanitary sewer systems may be an option if public sewers are not available and lots remain at or above one acre and 150 feet in width.

Surrounding Zoning and Development

Surrounding zoning of the 59-acre area is entirely single-family residential but varies from the R-1 District with a minimum lot size of five acres to the R-3 District with a minimum lot size of approximately ½ acre.   Other than German Church Road and County Line Road, there are no street connections between the 59 acres and the surrounding subdivisions.  The surrounding residential zoning clearly dictates that the 59 acres remain single-family residential.  However, the variety of zoning in the surrounding area, the lack of direct connections between the 59 acres and the surrounding subdivisions, and the size of the area permits consideration of any of the various Burr Ridge zoning districts.  In other words, the 59-acre area which is the subject of this Plan amendment is relatively self-contained.  As long as it is developed with single-family homes consistent in quality with other Burr Ridge homes, development of this area will not have an adverse impact on existing subdivisions or homes in the immediate area.

Recommendations for Future Zoning and Development

As noted above, the most significant condition of this area relative to future land use and development are the existing environmental conditions on the northern 40 acres (eight parcels).  This area contains significant woodlands, topography, and wildlife.  Preservation of such environmental conditions has already been established as a goal of the Village via the 1999 Comprehensive Plan (see Section 4.3).  The primary goal of this amendment to the Comprehensive Plan is to provide a mechanism for preserving the existing environmental conditions within the north 40 acres of this 59-acre area.  Therefore, the following conclusions and recommendations are provided:

  • The R-2 Single-Family Residence District should be utilized for the north 40 acres (eight parcels) of the subject area.  The R-2 District permits low density development of approximately two units per five acres.  The low density of the R-2 District reduces the environmental impacts from the construction of homes, accessory structures, utilities, and stormwater management facilities -- all of which contributes to the Plan’s desire to preserve existing environmental conditions.
  • The subject R-2 District should be accessed via rural cross-section streets consistent with the regulations of the Village of Burr Ridge Subdivision Ordinance.  Rural cross-section streets are more narrow than traditional suburban streets and do not include curbs, gutters, or underground storm sewers.  Thus, the R-2 District with its allowance of rural cross-section streets substantially contributes to the goal of preserving the existing environmental conditions.  The recommended rural streets may be private if deemed appropriate by the Village.
  • The Village should consider measures that would allow the existing properties, all of which are 4.5 to 5 acres in area, to be divided into two parcels.  This action would be intended to dissipate some of the development pressure currently placed on this area by the real estate market while still allowing property owners to obtain an increased value for their properties.  Measures to allow the split of these properties may include allowance of private street easements in lieu of dedicated right-of-way or relief from the R-2 District lot size requirements.
  • Street access to the R-2 District should be limited to the existing private streets that service the east half of the proposed R-2 District.  If any of the properties are split into two parcels, the existing private streets servicing those parcels should be improved to provide adequate access for emergency and service vehicles.
  • The south 19 acres (four parcels) may be considered for future subdivision development most preferably under the R-2A District standards.  The preferred development of this area would be a consolidation of the four parcels into one development tract.
  • Access to the southern parcels should be via a fully improved and dedicated suburban cross- section street with curbs, gutters, and storm sewers as required by the Burr Ridge Subdivision Ordinance.   Access from County Line Road should be limited to a single street located in compliance with the Subdivision Ordinance.

Implementation

The entire 59-acre area is expected to be annexed by the Village in the near future at which time it will automatically be placed within the Village’s R-1 Single-family Residence District as per Illinois State Statutes.  The Village may choose to initiate a rezoning of the entire area consistent with the recommendations of this Plan amendment or may choose to allow the property to remain within the R-1 District until such time that individual property owners approach the Village with the desire to rezone or subdivide their property.  Consideration of relief to allow properties within the recommended R-2 District to split their properties may also be considered as a whole or as individual properties approach the Village for rezoning or lot division.