Archive for the ‘Resident Surveys’ Category

Illinois Tollway Regional Mobility Survey

Screen Shot 2018-03-15 at 8.37.26 AMThe Illinois Tollway is offering I-PASS customers in the Kane County region an opportunity to provide input on a Kane County project to improve regional mobility through the development of the Longmeadow Parkway Bridge Corridor improvement. The Longmeadow Parkway project is designed to alleviate traffic congestion in northern Kane County and relieve pressure on the existing bridges crossing the Fox River. While the Illinois Tollway is not directly involved in the development of the improvement, we are hoping that our I-PASS customers can provide valuable feedback regarding their travel habits and preferences.

The Longmeadow Parkway Bridge Corridor improvement is 5.6 miles in length and includes a new four-lane Fox River Bridge crossing and four-lane roadway with a median that passes through portions of the Villages of Algonquin, Carpentersville and Barrington Hills, as well as unincorporated areas of Kane County.

For completing the survey, Kane County’s consultant is offering entry into a drawing to win a $500 check card.

Take the survey here.

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Friday FlashbackFollowing are some of the articles published by The Observer in November in the last few years. These articles, gathered from various publications and editorials, are noteworthy for residents in that they remind us of where we’ve been as a community.

Despite changes, horse boarding controversy continues – 2011

Embattled horse farm owners say they have been complying with the Village of Barrington Hills zoning code and its president agreed, though neighbors still insist the farm is operating illegally and should be shut down.

Benjamin and Cathleen LeCompte, owners of Oakwood Farms in Barrington Hills, and Village President Robert Abboud said the farm has changed a few operation standards, and has been in compliance with the village’s Home Occupation Zoning Ordinance since February.

Read the TribLocal article published five years ago here.

An economic proposal to control horse boarding businesses – 2011

This Monday evening, November 14, 2011, the Zoning Board of Appeals will again take up the controversial subject of large-scale commercial horse boarding in our Village.  Numerous proposals have been floated, rejected, and then floated again in recent memory.  Who knows what will come out of Village Hall after Monday’s meeting.  Here is an idea: If large horse boarding businesses are going to be allowed in our Village, at the expense of our quiet residential character, they should pay fees and taxes as businesses.

Read the original Observer editorial here.

Barrington Hills 2012 Resident Survey Results – 2012

On October 22, 2012, The Observer published the Barrington Hills 2012 Resident Survey.  Readers and subscribers participated, as did many of the more than eight hundred residents who received an invitation to take the survey via email.  By the time the survey period closed on Sunday October 28, two hundred twenty-six residents had completed the survey, and eighty-four of them chose to provide their own personal comments and insightful observations based on their years living in the Village.

Revisit the Village survey results from four years ago here.

Better safe than sorry – 2014

Last month during a special Village Board meeting, the Board of Trustees had the opportunity to ask questions of three law firms who were invited to present their qualifications to serve Barrington Hills.  Board members asked representatives of Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle their opinion on whether the Village should undertake legislation changing our Village Code related to horse boarding [Anderson II] when there is active litigation occurring between two private parties if such legislation might affect one party over the other.

David McArdle, a partner with the firm, responded, “We wouldn’t recommend that you pass a rule, pass a law, that favors one party over another.”  When asked again in a different way, he stated, “We wouldn’t recommend that.” (A link to the recording of that discussion can be accessed here).

Read more here.

Season’s first snow is Chicago’s largest November snowfall in 120 years – 2015

The season’s first snowfall dropped as much as 17 inches across Chicago’s northern suburbs, and the total of 11.2 inches at O’Hare International Airport made it the largest November snowfall in 120 years.

Read more from the Chicago Tribune here.

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Serious QuestionDistrict 220 has released their survey of the community to assist in their decision regarding what time schools should start in the 2017-2018 school year.

This survey will take less than five minutes to complete, and is available through midnight Saturday, October 1st.  All comments in the survey will be presented to the District 220 Board of Education in a public document.

To take the start time survey, click here.

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The Finance Committee will be meeting this evening at 6:00 PM.  A copy of their agenda can be viewed here.

At 7:30, the Zoning Board of Appeals will be holding a public hearing on a text amendment proposal regarding Village horse boarding codes.  Since we first posted this agenda on Friday (seen here), some Riding Club members, including a handful of “radicals” in the herd, have taken to social media with an “urgent” call to attend this meeting, so it would be in the best interest of fairness that those who objected to the passage of the LeCompte/Anderson amendment to attend and perhaps speak.

We have not fully reviewed the proposal which the Zoning Board will be considering tonight, however we would like to remind readers of our observations in our December 2014 editorial — “Our views on the latest horse boarding text amendment proposal” — regarding the amendment petition that was ultimately passed by the Village Board in early 2015 despite valid objections voiced by many residents and a presidential veto. Click here revisit that editorial.

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Start Schoo LaterBarrington District 220 Release:  The Input 220 Advisory Committee tasked with studying the idea of changing school start times will hold a public meeting at Station Middle School Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m.

Those in attendance will hear from Dr. Stephanie Crowley, Assistant Professor of Behavioral Sciences at Rush University Medical College. Dr. Crowley’s broad research interest is in the interactions of the circadian timing and sleep/wake systems. 

Following Dr. Crowley’s remarks, the Input 220 group will share full results from the community start time survey and present three options for potential start and end times across all grade levels. These options will be shared with the board of education at its Tuesday, Feb. 16 meeting for consideration. 

The Jan. 27 public meeting will be available to watch live online here for those unable to attend. The video will also be archived online. 

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220 LogoAccording to a survey, parents, students and employees in Barrington School District 220 want classes to start later in the morning, allowing middle and high students more sleep.

The committee known as Input 220 sent the questionnaire out Nov. 12-30 and members are studying the results in offering final options to the Barrington Board of Education ahead of a February meeting.

Read more here.

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Friday FlashbackFollowing are some of the articles published by The Observer in November in the last few years. These articles, gathered from various publications and editorials, are noteworthy for residents in that they remind us of where we’ve been as a community.

Village faces another equestrian related lawsuit – 2011

The Village of Barrington Hills now faces another equestrian related legal battle due to a lawsuit filed by a resident over property rights related to the keeping of horses.  Walter Dale “Rick” Hardy III filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court against members of the Zoning Board of Appeals and several neighboring residents on November 4, 2011.

Read the original article here.

Reflections on the 2012 resident survey results and recent political news – 2012

On November 2, 2012, The Observer published the results of the Barrington Hills 2012 Resident Survey.  For those who might not have seen the opinions of over two hundred residents who participated, a copy can be downloaded here.

Residents from all four counties participated in proportions close to those of recent voter turnouts by county.  With few exceptions, all indicated they had voted in prior Village elections, so clearly the survey respondents take interest in Village matters.

Read the original Observer article here.

Housing crash pushed bigger tax load onto seniors – 2013

Many Illinois seniors on fixed incomes are actually paying more property taxes these days because of the drastic decline in the value of their homes in recent years.

That’s because a state program designed to stabilize property tax burdens for homeowners 65 and older on limited incomes doesn’t work — and actually has an opposite effect for participants — when property values decline for everyone like they have since the housing market crash in 2008, a Daily Herald analysis of tax records shows.

Read more here. 

Better safe than sorry – 2014

Last month during a special Village Board meeting, the Board of Trustees had the opportunity to ask questions of three law firms who were invited to present their qualifications to serve Barrington Hills.  Board members asked representatives of Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle their opinion on whether the Village should undertake legislation changing our Village Code related to horse boarding when there is active litigation occurring between two private parties if such legislation might affect one party over the other.

David McArdle, a partner with the firm, responded, “We wouldn’t recommend that you pass a rule, pass a law, that favors one party over another.”  When asked again in a different way, he stated, “We wouldn’t recommend that.”

Read the full editorial here.

-The Observer

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From Barrington School District 220:

220 LogoHave an opinion on the topic of a later school start time for middle and high school students? Let it be heard at the Input 220 late start public forum at Station Middle School Thursday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m.

The idea of a later start time for Barrington 220 adolescent students is something the district is diving deeply into through the Input 220 Advisory Council this year. The discussion is the third and most complex topic stemming from the board of education’s strategic value of creating optimal time for learning. Adjusting the school calendar to allow for high school finals to fall before winter break was implemented in 2014, and the option of kindergarten enrichment began this fall.

The Input 220 Advisory Council is assisting the board in determining whether the school district should and could optimize the defined time and configuration of an instructional day based on student and organizational needs, understanding the system-wide impact on grades preschool through 12.

The public forum on Nov. 12 is an opportunity to learn about research the Input 220 group has gathered and hear examples of benchmark districts that have implemented a late start. There will be a public comment portion of the evening where community members can express their opinions and ask questions.

A survey on the topic of changing start times will be emailed to all district staff, parents and students following Thursday’s forum. Attendance at the event is not necessary to receive the survey. If you are unable to attend the public forum, you can watch it live online at barrington220.org/live.

Note: Readers wishing to provide comments online on changing the start time for schools may do so by clicking here (scroll down for the input form).

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lies4Most residents who have paid even a little attention to our Village government over the last few years recognize we have some ethical issues with certain members of our Village Board.  Two of those current members, and a newcomer, are running as the SOS Party, and so far, their campaign has focused mainly on distorting facts in various media, yet they advise residents to not be deceived.

Part three of our series, “Don’t be deceived,” continues with more distortions spread by the SOS party as follows:

SOS Spin:  “Kalaway Cup Polo Event Killed in Barrington Hills.”

Reality:  This is likely the most cockamamie campaign stunt ever pulled in the history of Barrington Hills politics, and why has SOS consistently called this event by its incorrect name?  It’s been the ”LeCompte Kalaway Cup” for some time now, so why is SOS omitting the name of the host of the event?

SOS political campaign committeeman and Polo Club President John Rosene’s application for a renewed special use permit for the event is on the Village Board’s agenda for a vote at Monday night’s meeting.  Assuming at least four of the five “Save 5 Acres” Trustees use their block voting power, the permit will be granted two weeks after it was declared “dead” by the SOS spin masters, and we can expect another mass campaign announcement the following day.

SOS Spin:  “According to the 2014 Village Survey, 64.1 percent of residents responding believe that ‘Equestrian Boarding’ in Barrington Hills helps to ‘protect open space and maintain large land parcels.’”

“’I think it’s important for all residents to read this survey report,’ states Mary Naumann.”

Reality:  Clearly SOS candidate Mary Naumann didn’t read the complete survey.  If she had, she’d recognize the fact that the numbers were stacked by people taking the survey multiple times, and many non-residents from anywhere in the world could have taken it.

What SOS candidates fail to mention is, according to the survey, 57.8 percent of respondents stated they own horses.  Since this percentage is highly inflated (by a factor of roughly 3 times), unfortunately all the data in the report is suspect, despite Village Hall staff’s best efforts to accurately gather data from residents.  A copy of the 2014 survey report, which the SOS Party neglected to provide to residents, can be viewed here.

SOS Spin:  (One Barrington Hills candidates will) “Use eminent domain to widen roads, install bike lanes and make our village more developer-friendly”

Reality:  SOS candidate Patty Meroni is already using eminent domain for the Cuba Road Bridge project robbing adjacent landowners of property in exchange for funding.  Had her proposal to the McHenry County Council of Governments for funding Haegers Bend roadwork succeeded in 2012, eminent domain would have taken acres of property from homeowners.

One Barrington Hills candidates Bryan Croll, Michelle Nagy Maison and Brian Cecola, have made it abundantly clear they are against bike lanes, and in favor of Heritage Corridors to protect against road widening for any purpose.  In fact, Brian Croll is seated on the Board of Directors of the Barrington Area Conservation Trust, which has made establishment of Heritage Corridors within the Village a top priority, so the SOS allegations are false.

SOS Spin:  “Our opponents have not stated their position on feathering and have received campaign donations from pro-development contributors.”

Reality:  One Barrington Hills candidates solidly support land conservation and will protect five-acre zoning. Period.  Sadly over the last few election cycles, SOS (and Save 5 Acres before them) has made a habit of unfounded fear-mongering and false accusations about any opponent being less committed than they are to preserving the minimum lot sizes that everyone supports.

As for the ridiculous allegation that “pro-development” contributors are funding the One Barrington Hills campaign, a simple study of State Board of Elections filings proves this to be another falsehood. 

Frankly, we don’t understand why they would even raise this as an “issue”, since the largest single contributor to the SOS campaign ($10,800) and members of his family sit on the board of the organization that purchased the “Duda Property” in 2014 (most of which is adjacent to Barrington Hills in unincorporated McHenry County).

SOS Spin:  (SOS candidate Meroni) Longmeadow Parkway Project: Informed residents; coordinated communication between residents and Kane County engineers; held meetings to work for resolution on critical issues impacting residents.

Reality:  SOS candidate Patty Meroni only spoke of the Longmeadow Parkway project once progress was announced in the press, (and on this website), when she had no alternative. 

The Observer has provided press updates on the project dating back to January of 2013.  Yet Meroni fails to mention that, until December 2013, she expressed no knowledge of the timeline or progression of Longmeadow, despite the fact that former President Abboud had signed a resolution of support for the project back in 2006.  If Barrington Hills had taken an active role in the ongoing planning for Longmeadow Bridge, perhaps we could have eliminated any routing through the village completely.

The initial meetings with residents she references were by invitation only, and not posted to the Village Calendar.  It was only after she was pressured did she announce Longmeadow meetings for all interested residents to attend.  This is hardly being proactive, and once again, residents will lose parts or all of their properties as a result of her tenure as Roads & Bridges chairperson.

Part four of this series continues soon in the Barrington Hills Observer.     


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Oakwood Farm Operation

The latest horse boarding text amendment proposal prepared by Kurt Anderson will be subject to a public hearing before the Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday evening.  We’ve previously documented most of the highlights of his proposal and those can be viewed in a previous article here.

We take exception to many aspects of this latest proposal, including:

Expanded operating hours:  Employees are permitted to work from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM, including weekends.  Boarding customers can make use of the facility or receive training from 7:00 AM to 8:30 PM every day, and it can be assumed most of the work and training will occur outdoors most of the year.  Machinery can be used from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM.

These far exceed the current hours generally prescribed under the Home Occupation Ordinance allowed of 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM.

Horse density: While Anderson’s proposal has limits to the number of boarded horses to 2 horses per acre on ten or more acres to one on smaller properties, it still doesn’t limit the total number of horses allowed on any R-1 property.  This differs significantly from nearly all “equestrian communities” in the Chicagoland area and horse rescue organizations where a limit of one horse per acre, boarded or owned, is enforced, and when it comes to differentiation, how is the Village zoning officer to discern a boarded horse from one that is owned?

Comprehensive Plan adherence:  ZBA chair Judith Freeman expressed her vehement desire that any amendment to the horse boarding and keeping codes support the Village Comprehensive Plan.  Excerpts from the plan related to keeping of horses include:

  • “Keep the size of intensively used areas [for horses] small to help reduce the volume of polluted water.”
  • “Avoid soil compaction and excessive removal of vegetation by timing the use of pastures and controlling the number of horses.”

Anderson’s proposed amendment will not address these issues, since there are no guidelines for the overall ratio of space to be used for horse keeping compared to the gross property acreage.

RetroactivityAnderson’s amendment calls for retroactive application if enacted to June 26, 2006.  Clearly this seems to be for the benefit of one large-scale boarding operation currently involved in litigation with its neighbors, namely Oakwood Farm.

Public interest: Three other boarding proposals submitted by residents were dismissed a vote by the Zoning Board, ostensibly because they did not represent the good of the public interest.  They were the Drury, Elder/Riding Club and Hammond proposals, and Anderson initiated motions to dismiss all three.

We’d like to remind Mr. Anderson, members of the Zoning Board and our readers of the results of our 2012 resident survey when we asked participants what their motivation was to move to Barrington Hills:

Click on image to enlarge

Click on image to enlarge

The overwhelming response to this survey question was open spaces drew residents to Barrington Hills.

Yet the Anderson amendment allows for the size of the stable or barn to exceed that of the dwelling to maximize capacity for horses, thus, presumably increasing the fenced area of a typical five-acre property.

A quarter of respondents moved here for privacy.  Anderson’s amendment will only protect those property owners for nine hours a day per year.  The rest of the day, neighbors will be subjected to customers and employees of the boarding businesses with no recourse.

Thirteen percent stated they moved here to keep horses.  (And should anyone question the response opinions, a link to the 2012 open survey was sent directly to every Riding Club of Barrington Hills resident member from their directory of that year.)

So, where must we go from here and what conclusions do we have?

Our Zoning Board needs to stop rushing to quick, reactive fixes benefiting a minority of commercial horse boarding facilities, whether the fixes are meant to help with their private legal matters or to eliminate uncertainty of their futures, perceived through misinformation.

Further, the ZBA either needs to rely on the vast, pragmatic information that has been submitted to them by residents, or to do research using their own resources or those of the Board of Health, Plan Commission or an independent ad hoc body to provide balanced guidance.

In other words, a sound approach needs to be taken, beginning with creating a process that will ensure the resulting codes are supportive of the Comprehensive Plan, and more importantly, one that all residents can live with.  Failure to do so will only protract this divisive issue in our Village for years to come.

–     The Observer

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