A signed petition might give Hawthorn Woods residents the power to overturn the village's divisive July 1 decision to annex property around Route 22 and Quentin Road.
More than 250 Hawthorn Woods residents filed a petition with the village July 30 requesting a referendum vote to decide whether the village should annex about 72 acres northeast of the intersection.
Last month, Hawthorn Woods forcibly annexed that land, which is comprised of Kildeer Estates and a small part of Forest Lake, two formerly unincorporated subdivisions. The annexation agreement also allowed for about 16 acres along Quentin Road to be commercialized if the developer presents a feasible plan within 20 years.
The village sees that as a potential for revenue, but residents are worried what retail will do to their home values.
The petition neutralizes the annexation agreement until the referendum vote, when the public will decide whether to annex that land, attorney Bill Braithwaite said. He is representing residents of the annexed communities.
"We would hope the Hawthorn Woods residents, once informed of the facts here and the heavy-handed manner of the forced annexation ... will vote against this annexation and undo the actions of the seven people on the village board," Braithwaite said.
Residents of Forest Lake, Kildeer Estates and the surrounding area banded together to contact an attorney and collect signatures for the petition, said Andris Duffy, who lives in Forest Lake. She noted most people had no knowledge of the annexation before being approached to sign the petition.
A section of the Illinois Municipal Code allows registered voters to submit a petition for referendum within 30 days of an annexation agreement. The petition had to be signed by at least 10 percent of residents who elected Hawthorn Woods' current government, or about 140 signatures, Braithwaite said. The petition had 257 signatures. Residents from Forest Lake and Kildeer Estates were not allowed to sign the petition, Duffy said.
The village received the petition, but officials have to assess it before moving forward, chief operating officer Pam Newton said via e-mail.
"Our legal department is reviewing the validity of this petition and we expect to have more information in this regard by the end of the week," Newton wrote.
As long as the petition has at least 140 valid signatures, it is valid and Hawthorn Woods is obligated to put it on a ballot at a reasonable date, which could be as early as Nov. 2 or as late as sometime in 2011, Braithwaite said.
The village has until Aug. 19 to submit the annexation referendum to the Lake County Clerk for it to be included in the November election, said Cindy Pagano, elections administrator in the county clerk's office.