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This morning workmen with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County were busy locking gates and placing signs such as the one pictured above at Crabtree Nature Center. The signs read:

“To follow public health guidelines for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) the nature center bulding & grounds are closed until further notice. “

What’s ironic is the signs read, “feel free,” at the bottom.  Though no signs were present, all entrances to Horizon Farms were closed as well.

Kevin B. Morrison is our Commissioner in Cook County, and his contact information can be viewed here.  “Feel free” to contact him.

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346 Old Sutton Road

“In late February, the Village of Barrington Hills became aware of a home in our jurisdiction that was being marketed as a short-term rental space for uses such as vacations, conference centers and weddings, by accommodation facilitators such as Evolve, Vrbo and Airbnb.  The advertised use of the home suggested that it was not in compliance with an individual’s residential use of a home. 

The use of a residential property for purely commercial purposes is not allowed in Barrington Hills under the Village’s zoning regulations. 

On March 5, 2020, at the direction of the Village Board and Administration, the Village Attorney contacted one of the Property Owners and notified them that the advertised use of the home is strictly prohibited under the Village’s zoning regulations and could not lawfully occur. 

On March 6, 2020, the Property Owners’ Attorney contacted our Village Attorney to address this matter who, in turn, reiterated that the advertised use of the home was illegal and informed the Property Owners’ Attorney that the online Vrbo and Airbnb advertisements, as well as signage on the Property, should be immediately removed.  The Attorney for the Property Owner concurred with the Village Attorney’s assessment and stated he would advise the Property Owner that such use was prohibited and that the advertisements and signage must be removed. 

At no time was the Village aware that the Property Owners had a scheduled event for Friday, March 6, 2020.  The Property Owners did not cancel the event, despite the advanced notice from the Village that such use is strictly prohibited under the Village’s zoning regulations.   In the early morning of March 7, 2020, the Barrington Hills Police Department responded to call of shots fired at the Property.

The Village of Barrington Hills is deeply saddened by the events that occurred. Our current zoning codes exist to protect the health, safety and welfare of residents and to guard against the use of property in the Village which is not in keeping with the Village’s residential standards. Please be aware, this is an ongoing investigation and the Village can only release limited information. The Village will remain vigilant to halt such other uses as it becomes aware of any other property being used for short term rental.  The Barrington Hills Police Department would like to remind and encourage residents to never refrain from reporting suspicious activity or requesting assistance or service.”

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Barrington Hills police and firefighter/paramedics from Barrington -Countryside FPD responded about 3:34 a.m. Saturday March 7, 2020 to a report that multiple people were shot at or near a home in the block of 300 Old Sutton Road.

Police and firefighter/paramedics received a report that there were multiple gunshot victims. At least two victim were transported to a local hospital. At least one victim was possibly dead at the scene.

Police are investigating whether an online marketplace for lodging, such as Airbnb, was being used to stay at a luxury home and host a party at the luxury home. The minimum property size in Barrington Hills is 5 acres, and the neighborhood includes horse ranches and multi-million dollar homes. A home down the street on Old Sutton Road is currently listed for $11.8 million dollars. There have been reports nationwide of disturbing parties at luxury homes or luxury apartment shared temporarily via Airbnb or other lodging sharing broker services using a smartphone app.

Read more here.

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165 Algonquin Road

Trails and access roads at several Northwest suburban sites in the Forest Preserves of Cook County will receive trail and access road improvements in the next two years, officials announced.

The access road and parking upgrades include: 165 Algonquin Road near Barrington Hills $570,000 for design and improvements; Campground Road Woods near Des Plaines — $264,450 for design and improvements; Northwestern Woods near Des Plaines — $214,800 for design and improvements; Axehead Lake near Des Plaines — $343,600 for improvements; Busse Lake Boating Center No. 17 near Elk Grove Village — $399,800 for improvements; and Ned Brown Meadow near Elk Grove Village — $945,000 for design and improvements.

Planned trail improvements include: Deer Grove No. 1 to cul-de-sac near Palatine — $13,300 for design; Paul Douglas Trail near Hoffman Estates — $250,000 for improvements.

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Celebrate under a full harvest moon at Citizens for Conservation’s Ignite the Night.

The event will feature live music, food, stargazing, flashlight walks for kids, a raffle, horse-drawn wagon rides and will be capped off by a spectacular bonfire. Ignite the Night will be held from 5 to 10 PM on Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Spring Creek Forest Preserve and the Barrington Hills Park District, 361 Bateman Road, Barrington Hills.

The evening will include a cookout dinner; beer, wine and soft drinks and music by Beamish. Attendees will also have the chance to view the night sky, stars and planets with professional-grade telescopes.

Tickets are $50 in advance and $65 after Friday, Sept. 13, for adults; $25 for teens through age 20, and $12 for children 12 and younger. Online ordering is available on CFC’s website.

If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities, call Ginger Underwood at 847.331.3568 or ttonkajo@yahoo.com

Ignite the Night aims to be a zero-waste event, and Mindful Waste will assist in making sure all packaging is compostable, recyclable or reusable. Mindful Waste volunteers will be on hand to educate and help with the sorting process. CFC’s goal is divert as much material from the landfill as possible.

All proceeds from this event will support Citizens for Conservation. Supporters of the event include the Forest Preserves of Cook County and the Barrington Hills Park District.

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A campaign dubbed “Healthy Hedges” is being rolled out to arm nonprofessionals with information to deal with buckthorn and options to replace it.

“This is a key conservation goal across the region,” said Allison Frederick, assistant public affairs manager for the Lake County Forest Preserve District. “We’re joining forces to make this truly a movement to eradicate buckthorn wherever possible.”

The district and the Morton Arboretum through its Chicago Regional Tree Initiative, Forest Preserves of Cook CountyBarrington Area Conservation TrustIllinois Landscape Contractors Association, independent contractors and others are working to improve the health of backyards and other landscapes.

Read more here.

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 “NO TRESPASSING” signs have been posted at the entrances to the largest new forest preserve in Cook County.

“Forest Preserve of Cook County does not have possession & has no right to enter this property or permit others to do so,” the warning reads on a locked gate at Horizon Farm, a rolling, 400-acre horse farm in Barrington Hills.

The notice was posted by Rich and Meryl Squires Cannon, who assert they are the true owners of the land after they won an Illinois Appellate Court decision in a long-standing legal battle over the prized property.

The court ruled that there is a legitimate question as to whether the Cannons were fraudulently pressured into the mortgage that led to foreclosure of their property. As a result, a lower court must reconsider whether the Forest Preserve District can foreclose on the property.

The shutdown is the latest development in a yearslong feud between the couple and the district. It could be years more before the dispute and the fate of the land is resolved.

To read the full article in the Chicago Tribune, click here.

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