Referring to Cook County Commissioner Peter Silvestri's March 16 letter ("It's time for a happy ending to Dominican driveway squabble"), we do not believe there is definitive legal support for Dominican ownership of a 30-foot strip along the Green Triangle immediately adjacent to Dominican's boundary fence. Scott Day, an experienced attorney in land protection issues, reviewed Dominican's legal position and commented on its weakness regarding abandonment of right-of-way.
He further noted that when the Illinois General Assembly created forest preserves by statute across the state they did not trust the districts. Hence, they gave them essentially no powers to change the statute regarding use of the land, though they granted them powers to purchase land.
Nowhere in the state charter is there power to sell, lease or grant easements to private institutions. Nor can the district grant an easement to a public entity when its sole purpose is to transfer that easement to a private institution.
Further, regarding public land protection?#34;the only real protection is a conservation easement. But, according to Dominican's business vice president, this process would take too long because it would first have to be approved by the Sinsinawa Dominican order. Hello?#34;the Sinsinawa order has no ownership of Dominican University. Dominican, along with Trinity High School, are separately incorporated as private institutions with no ownership ties to the Dominican order.
We believe Dominican should move forward utilizing their four existing driveways to connect to the proposed parking garage thus saving their coffers hundreds of thousands of dollars and further depletion of campus hardwoods by yet another driveway through their campus. Their position is beyond common sense.
Victor and Jean Guarino
Stewards, Thatcher Woods
Savanna Restoration Project