Archive for the ‘Guest Essay’ Category

Following is a copy of the remarks made by David Stieper at the September 23rd special Village Board meeting published with the permission of the author at the request of some of our readers:

David-Stieper-Pictures003When you get right down to brass tacks, the seven of you are called upon to decide whether 5-acre residential zoning standards will be the “only consideration” concerning “development” and “use” on parcels of land in Barrington Hills zoned R-1 (5 acres) or will these residential zoning standards take a “back seat” to commercial enterprise when this enterprise takes the form of “horse boarding for a fee”; on any scale; large or small?

Barrington hills has always been zoned “residential R1-R4” and not commercial; with some minor exception none relevant here. Just take a look at our zoning map. To allow a business endeavor like horse boarding to trump residential zoning standards which have been in place in Barrington Hills for 42 years, amends our zoning code from “residential use” to mixed use “residential/commercial”.

Village government changed the paradigm of our code to commercial use in R1 zoning by legislative fiat rather than the statutory requirement of referendum; the latter action taken when our single purpose residential zoning code was adopted in 1977. If this board is inclined to allow the Anderson II Horse Boarding Ordinance to remain in our code, this should be done by vote of the people of Barrington Hills through referendum and not through the vote of a few volunteer elected officials; three of which who were materially conflicted and should have never participated in the process.

Like you, the previous village board took an “oath of office” to uphold and enforce our residential zoning code not change the substance of it from “residential use” to “residential use and something else.” From 1977, when the village code was adopted through the year 2006, boarding for a fee in Barrington Hills was not a permitted use. From 2006 to adoption of Anderson II, boarding for a fee was legal to a limited extent under the former home occupation ordinance, which provided boarding for a fee was legal so long as this business practice was sublime, not open and obvious to neighbors or the public at large.

Anderson II, not only allows boarding for a fee to be open and obvious, but provides when this business activity is in conflict with residential zoning standards – – boarding for a fee will prevail. Anderson II allows the business of horse boarding for a fee to the exclusion of residential zoning standards; the same residential standards which were granted to each and every one of us when we purchased our homes; whether we owned horses or not.

Anderson II is not an ordinance to be read in a vacuum standing alone simply creating a “new single use”; but is a rewrite of our entire zoning code changing us from zoning category “5-acre residential” to mixed use “residential and business” with the latter given priority when these two zoning uses converge.

When I moved here in 2000, the village zoning code treated equestrian activities as a hobby for those who enjoyed it and could afford it. 15 years later through adoption of Anderson II, we are told equestrian activities are no longer just a hobby but a business endeavor where residents are called upon to subsidize neighboring profiteers engaged in boarding through sacrifice of their individual residential zoning rights. Tell me, how does sacrificing “residential zoning standards” in a residential community like Barrington Hills for the sake of commercial enterprise help residential property values?

I am on the record in two elections for trustee supporting the business of boarding for a fee on larger properties; but under the guidelines of “special use” criterion where objective residential zoning standards remain paramount. For smaller boarding operations, we should reinstate the former home occupation ordinance which worked so well for so many over the years which Anderson II inexplicably took away from us.

“Special use” and “home occupation” is the only reasonable way to permit this or any business use in our residential community. All you have to do is see how other municipalities deal with desired “business activities” in “residentially zoned areas”. There is no municipality or county in any state in the united states (save Louisiana) which allows commercial endeavors like horse boarding to possess the designation “permitted use” in a residential zoned district; that is to say, until misguided Barrington Hills’ adoption of Anderson II.

I mean what I said before and is why I am here saying it again, if Anderson II is allowed to stand in present form as a “permitted use”, in time, Anderson II will lead to the destruction of 5 acre residential zoning in Barrington Hills.

Do not let supporters of Anderson II fool you!

You might in some municipalities or counties find horse boarding as a permitted use under the definition of “agriculture” when the municipality or county contains an “agriculture district” on its zoning map. Barrington Hills has no such district on its map. You will never find (except for Barrington Hills through adoption of Anderson II) horse boarding as a permitted use in geographical areas zoned exclusively residential.

For if you did, this would be an act of government malfeasance!

The board should do what former ZBA Chairman Judith Freeman recommended you to do in 2011, as the only approach for Barrington Hills; and that is zone larger scale horse boarding operations as a “special use”. Illinois courts support this approach; our village code supports this approach; in 2011, elected and appointed Barrington Hills political office holders supported this approach; And most importantly, the results of the last election demonstrate an overwhelming majority of Barrington Hills residents support this approach.

I close by saying: “Let’s be through with Anderson II!”

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I am your neighbor. You may have seen me and my little black truck picking up garbage on our Village roads.  I started last April at the Village Cleanup day and from then until the end of 2014, I picked up 101 bags of garbage off of Old Hart, Oak Knoll, Buckley, Merri Oaks, and Ridge between Oak Knoll and Merri Oaks.

This spring, since March, I have re-cleaned Old Hart, Oak Knoll, Buckley and Merri Oaks, all of Ridge Road, and the far east end of Lake Cook from Old Hart towards the high school.  Currently, I am working on Brinker by Countryside School.  I have collected 53 bags of road side litter/trash so far this year.  Our Village has become a garbage dump.  There is trash on roads everywhere; more than you can imagine.  It is a horrible Village-wide problem.

On Saturday, April 25, 2015, the Village is having its annual trash cleanup day.  I got started picking up trash at this event and I’ve come to realize that we will never clean up our Village if we only take three hours a couple days a year to focus on the problem.  The cleanup seasons are short; spring before the trees leaf out and weeds grow too tall over the trash, and in the fall after the leaves drop and before snow covers it.

This year I have volunteered as a Team Captain for the April 25 Village cleanup day.  I would love to have you come out and be a member of my team, starting at 8:30 a.m. at Village Hall.  If you cannot join the cleanup effort on April 25th, there are other simple steps I would like you to consider.  A lot of the trash I have been picking up is coming from our own garbage cans and recycling bins.  If you could use covered garbage cans and put a rock on the lid it will keep the rodents, raccoons, and others from dragging your garbage out of your garbage can for a late night feast in the nearby trees and bushes.  Cover your garbage cans and recycling bins, and do not put garbage out in plastic bags. These steps alone will go a long way to curbing our litter problems.

Also, if you could walk your road frontage once a week or twice a month and pick up what has been thrown or blown onto your frontage, it will make that much less for others to have to cleanup.  If you cannot do it yourself, ask your lawn maintenance service will do it for you.  It only takes a few minutes if you keep after it consistently.  Also, I have picked up a lot of lunch bags, wrappers, and refreshment containers left behind by the lawn service crews.  Please remind your service providers to pick up after themselves.

This is a Village wide effort.  I hope that you and your family will take the extra steps to assist the cleanup, of our roads.  I think we can all agree, our Village looks so much prettier without the trash.

Thank you in advance for whatever efforts you take to help!  With Gratitude,

Michael Hannigan

For more information on Saturday’s Village cleanup day, visit the Village news web page by clicking here.

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Editorial note:   Following are comments posted to The Observer by a resident on December 12th, and are republished with permission from the author.


I will not be able to attend the board meeting on Monday because of previously scheduled travel.  I relied, like many others, on the regular meeting schedule, which included a planned meeting on Thursday of next week.  This new, special meeting next Monday was called by two trustees specifically to avoid public scrutiny and public participation in this significant change in our laws. I am informed that these trustees actually called for this meeting on Monday of this week, yet notice was delayed until yesterday. Our village deserves more than these shenanigans, especially on an issue that has become so significant and been the subject of great controversy.

If I was able to attend the meeting on Monday, I would urge the board to reject the amendment on three principal grounds:

First, the amendment is retroactive.  This is rare in legislation and demonstrates, in the most vivid and acute way, that this amendment was not designed to advance the public interest as a whole, but rather to immunize prior unlawful conduct by one or more lawbreakers.  That is reason alone to reject this amendment.

Second, the amendment grants blanket permission to horse boarders first, and then requires disrupted neighbors to bring grievances second, only after they have been harmed.  That is exactly the opposite of what responsible legislation should do.  Rather, the proper way to regulate horse boarding is to do so by special use permits (even long term special use permits).  Special use permits allow neighbors’ rights to be considered and protected first, before they suffer harm. That’s the right order of things.  The current amendment has it exactly backward, putting the proverbial cart before the horse.  This is further evidence that the legislation is not designed nor effective to advance the public interest as a whole.  Its purpose and effect is to benefit a special class of commercial operators, including those who have deliberately violated our existing laws.

Third, the artifice of an “agriculture” designation, which now will be sprinkled anywhere and everywhere throughout the village, rather than in special agriculture zones, is destructive of our overall residential zoning and in violation of the village’s comprehensive plan.

I leave to others who are expert in equestrian matters to comment on the provisions relating to hours, horse density, etc.  Those are also problematic, for many and varied reasons that have been explored elsewhere.

I will not be able to attend the Monday meeting.  No doubt it was the intention of those who called this special meeting, when a regular meeting was on the horizon, and then deliberately delayed its public notice to minimize community attendance and scrutiny of their conduct.  Responsible governance requires much more than this irresponsible behavior.  I hope you will join me in April to vote the liable trustees out of office and send them back to their lives as civilians, if this process proceeds on Monday as they have planned.

I have spoken with the president pro tem and asked him to reconsider this conduct.  I hope he will reconsider, but I am not optimistic.  If this meeting goes forward, I urge you, my neighbors, to attend and let your voices be heard, despite the efforts of some of your trustees to silence you.

Once again you must find your voices, attend this dubious meeting and argue against this destructive amendment.


Steve D’Amore

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220 LogoBarrington 220 strives to ensure every student receives the best educational experience possible. As a public school district, we are able to offer a wide range of services and opportunities, thanks in part to local, state and federal tax dollars. A large percentage of our state funding could be in jeopardy if School Funding Reform Act of 2014 (Senate Bill 16) is passed.

Senate Bill 16 (SB16) was created to equalize public education funding in the state of Illinois. Under the proposed bill, funding for districts with higher assessed property values, such as Barrington 220, will be drastically reduced. This money will then be redistributed to districts with less income from local property taxes.

Read more of District 220 Superintendent Brian Harris’ guest essay published in the Barrington Courier-Review here.

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The Barrington Youth Dance Ensemble (BYDE), will present its 17th annual production of “The Nutcracker” on December 2, 3 and 4 at Barrington High School.  This year’s cast will feature returning professional guest artists from River North Dance Chicago, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Southwest Florida Ballet,  NoMi LaMaD Dance and Modern American Dance Company.

The heroine, Clara, will be performed by BYDE company members Becca May of Barrington Hills (Elgin Academy) and Alexandra Skopek of Barrington (BMS-Prairie).  Additional Barrington Hills ballet students performing in this year’s production include Elizabeth Ballot, Julia Benkendorf, Francesca Bentley, Christina Fortsas, Emma Landenberger and Georgina Spence.

Performances are scheduled for Friday, December 3rd at 7 PM, Saturday the 4th at 2 and 7 PM, and Sunday the 5th at 2 PM.  Ticket prices range from $28.00 for preferred seating to $15.00 for balcony seating and are on sale now at www.BYDE.org or by calling 847-382-6333.  Discounted group rates (ten or more tickets) are available by calling, and reduced ticket prices are available to seniors and students.

The Nutcracker is made possible by The Roberts Family Foundation, The Benson Foundation, The Sanfilippo Family Foundation, The Duchossois Family Foundation, The LeMay family, Rose Packing Company, The DeMar Family Foundation, Barrington Junior Women’s Club, The Ijlewski Family Foundation, Buxton & Kasper and Barrington Bank & Trust, N.A.  The 2011 BYDE Nutcracker is partially supported by a grant from The Illinois Arts Council.

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