Willow Creek North Shore is proposing to build a new Megachurch campus in Glenview on the corner of Shermer and West Lake. The main structure would be 34 ft tall (3 stories tall) and about the size of Home Depot on Willow Road. It would contain a 1,200-seat auditorium, a 400-seat café, additional room for 700 children, 714 parking spaces and 40 full time staff. It would dwarf the Youth Services building next door.
Willow Creek North Shore is a 2,000-member church that has enjoyed 300 percent growth in the last 10 years. The proposed campus is designed to provide worship services to 3,000 weekly attendees. Additional uses of the facility listed in the preliminary plan include concerts and plays, outdoor family events, a health clinic, job fairs, weddings, funerals, and graduations.
Issue #1: Having such a large and active facility will significantly reduce our quality of life; traffic congestion requiring police assistance to manage; extra traffic cutting through our neighborhoods; retail-like building mass, bright lights and bold signage in our residential area.
Additionally, lack of any property tax revenue from this non-profit organization will hurt the Village’s overall financial stability and lead to higher taxes.
Issue #2: So far these issues do not seem to have been fully considered by the Village Board. The traffic study provided by the church assumed yearly membership growth of only 5 percent and only through 2019, five years after occupancy. The study is not based on the full capacity of the structure. The Village has not quantified the lost annual property tax revenue from choosing to sell to a non-profit organization. The lost tax revenue for Glenview and our schools is quite substantial. The Village justified using Glenview tax dollars to buy Parcel 24 in 2007 to prevent overdevelopment and to “maintain and strengthen our tax base.” Willow Creek’s fiscal impact study concludes that after the expiration of the TIF the church would generate a positive fiscal impact of $800 a year. The Village seems more concerned with the speed of sale and meeting debt obligations than the long-term impacts on our community.
Call to Action: In deciding whether to approve, the Village Planning Committees and Board of Trustees should: Use only traffic and financial impact studies that properly account for full capacity of new building and increased number of driving-age adults in the Glen in 10-15 years. Use unbiased information and models and expand traffic studies to include impacts outside the Glen. Use multiple professional studies rather than a single set of assumptions. Consider the reduced services or higher individual property tax rates from foregoing a perpetual stream of property tax revenue on this land. Listen to the concerns of Glenview residents who are just now learning about this significant Village transaction.
Residents of Glenview should: Hold the Board accountable for properly projecting the impacts on our community; Voice their concerns at the public hearings beginning on July 1 & July 9, 7 p.m. at Village Hall; Voice their concerns through letters and calls to the Committee members and Board of Trustees
Unlike other development projects in the Glenview, this scheme has not been well advertised. Input from local residents was not requested beforehand. We believe this particular project will be detrimental to Glenview as a whole. Traffic will increase significantly and it is a drain on the Village’s finances. The Village Board of Trustees is selling this very valuable property at a loss; there is no reason to lose property tax dollars as well. We as a community can do better.
Don & Michelle Rupprecht
New Megachurch campus detrimental to Glenview