Why is Knollwood unincorporated?
Debate about Knollwood annexation has been going on since the 1920s. Since the 1980s, there have been three annexation/incorporation efforts involving Knollwood:
- In 1983, Lake Bluff residents voted in a binding referendum on whether to annex Knollwood, and it was defeated by three votes.
- Immediately after that referendum, Knollwood residents began an attempt to self-incorporate as their own village. However, surrounding municipalities vetoed it (as permitted by state law). A lawsuit was filed and the case went to the US Supreme Court, but the justices declined to hear the appeal of lower-court rulings. Read more here.
- The last annexation vote came in November 1996; a majority of Knollwood property owners petitioned Lake Bluff for annexation, but when it went to a referendum for Lake Bluff voters, 70% voted against it.
We're often asked whether Knollwood could be forcibly annexed by any of the surrounding municipalities; the short answer is "no." We've created a couple of flow charts depicting the means by which municipalities may initiate an annexation and how an unincorporated area may ask for annexation.
At this point the surrounding municipalities are much more interested in the commercial properties that are still unincorporated. Residential properties generally cost more in services than they generate in property tax.
It is the policy of Knollwood Neighbors to keep residents informed of any possible annexation initiatives that may arise, but not to take a position on annexation. That way we can be relied on as an impartial source of information.