Lake County Board to decide on Route 53 advisory vote

 
 
Published: 1/15/2009 12:02 AM

Lake County Board members are expected to decide as soon as next week on whether an advisory vote should be held to gauge public sentiment on the idea of extending Route 53.

Route 53 would go north from where it ends at Lake-Cook Road near Long Grove under a long-stalled plan.

At a public works and transportation committee meeting Wednesday, it was agreed the entire Lake County Board should determine whether a nonbinding, advisory referendum on Route 53 should be placed on the April 7 ballot.

County board members likely will tackle the issue Jan. 20.

Melinda Bush, a county board member from Grayslake, said she supports the Route 53 extension and believes most residents do as well. She said that's why an advisory vote would be unnecessary.

"Route 53 - we've gone 'round and 'round on it for 20 years. We know it needs to be built," said Bush, who voted against the proposed advisory referendum in her role on the county's advisory public works and transportation committee Wednesday.

David Stolman, a county board member from Buffalo Grove, is among the backers of a nonbinding, advisory ballot question on Route 53. Local governments and state transportation officials have talked about extending the road to Route 120 in Grayslake.

Route 53 critics say an extension would increase pollution, interfere with some towns and damage environmentally sensitive land. Long Grove officials and residents have been on record against extending Route 53 for years.

Bush said she's concerned Route 53 opponents would be active before an advisory vote April 7 and create an atmosphere endangering other needed Lake County road projects.

However, county board member Ann Maine of Lincolnshire said it would be worth knowing where residents stand on the Route 53 issue. She said officials could seek more details on how the extension would be built if voters give the idea a thumbs-up. Because Route 53 is a state road, the county would need to work with other agencies should the project move forward.

"Let me make one thing really clear," Maine said. "The county is not going to build this road."