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Archive for the ‘HARPS’ Category

Audio recordings from a special Zoning Board of Appeals public hearing on November 9th are available for review on the Village website.  The link to the menu of audio recordings edited by agenda topic can be accessed by clicking here.

The purpose of the meeting was to hear testimony from residents regarding a proposed change to zoning codes returning commercial horse boarding to the Home Occupation Ordinance temporarily to provide the Zoning Board members time to craft more appropriate codes than those in the 2015 Anderson II codes.

Residents spent about two hours providing testimony with varying opinions, both for and against, regarding reverting to the Home Occupation Ordinance.

The developer of Barrington Hills Farm in unincorporated McHenry County read a prepared statement, after which he was once again asked to document the “clique of area residents associated with high density commercial housing development,” he referred to in a letter to all Village residents last July (seen here).

Once again, this witness refused to provide that documentation as can be heard here, but listening closely to his initial response to the question, one can hear, ”There’s no documents.”

The balance of the testimony provided little new evidence the board hadn’t already heard since they began this process back in June.  The link to the beginning of the remarks can be accessed here.

The board spent about 45-minutes discussing the testimony they’d heard and expressing their own opinions regarding the Anderson II code and what should be done with it.  This was in addition to the nearly three hour meeting they’d held on October 17th covering this same topic.

One member referred to it as a “loaded gun sitting on a chair” on more than one occasion.  Others phrased their concerns over the Anderson II language differently, but ultimately the board voted 6-1 to recommend the Board of Trustees repeal Anderson II and reinstate Home Occupation Ordinance codes to manage horse boarding operations.

The recording of the discussion and vote can be accessed here.

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Audio recordings from the October 17th regular monthly meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals held at Countryside Elementary School have been posted to the Village website.  The link to the menu of recordings edited by agenda topic can be accessed here.

Six people made public comments, though three of them were allowed to speak twice, causing the public comment portion of the agenda to last about 45 minutes (and since the chair was very liberal when it came to the traditional 3 minute time limit per comment).

The developer of Barrington Hills Farm (BHF) was the first to ask to speak for a second time, but before he began his additional remarks, the chair asked him a question:

“In a letter you sent out to the entire village a month or two ago [seen here], in the letter there’s a statement that ‘some months ago a clique of area residents, a clique of area residents associated with high density housing development initiated a subtle but strategic campaign to defeat and dismantle the statutory defenses that preserve the character of the village of Barrington Hills.’  What were you talking about?”

The speaker replied, “There is a [sic] intentional direction at undermining and changing the village’s comprehensive plan.  To change the comprehensive plan will change the density allowances for construction going forward.”

When asked for further definition of specifically whom the speaker was referring to in his letter, after some obfuscation he stated, “I’m not one for circulating misinformation.  I will document it.”

We’re looking forward to it, as we’re confident our readers do as well.  In the meantime, we highly recommend readers listen to this candid exchange by clicking here.

The second resident to speak twice (and who also happens to be involved in the BHF development) offered to answer the chair’s question.  He stated:

“The question as I understood it, and I think it is a legitimate question, is basically is there a group that is trying to change the comprehensive plan, and are they meeting.  And I can tell you categorically yes they are meeting, and here’s the change that is contemplated.

The change, and this is documented in written communications that’s been sent out on The Observer, which I think you write [apparently referring to one of the ZBA members], and in other publications, that basically we want to alter the characterization of Barrington Hills from an equestrian community to a residential community.

Now, as Mr. Stieper knows, and as probably everyone on the board knows, changing that characterization from an equestrian community, which has been embedded in the comprehensive plan since the beginning of Barrington Hills, and as I said at a previous meeting, uh,  I was there at the start with the founder of Barrington Hills as an equestrian community.”

We recommend readers listen to this speaker’s full remarks as well as his dialog with board members by clicking here.

We also look forward to his commitment to follow up on his statements with documentation, particularly as they relate to Barrington Hills comprehensive plans.  A searchable copy of the 1978 Comprehensive Plan that was in place for 27 years can be viewed and downloaded here, however it is devoid of anything remotely substantiating his claims.

Prior to the chair closing public comment, a ZBA member questioned the clerk regarding the procedure for timely inclusion of written comments in document packets to board members prior to meetings, since one submitted the morning of the meeting was excluded, yet another from that afternoon from the BHF developer was.  The recording of that exchange can be heard here.

Recordings of all public comments made that night can be heard by clicking here, however, the first speaker is nearly inaudible.

When public comment concluded, the board began nearly two hours of discussion regarding the proposal to repeal Anderson II/LeCompte Anderson codes and revert back to Home Occupation Ordinance oversight of horse boarding facilities as an interim step before pursuing brand new codes addressing all scales of facilities in Barrington Hills.

The chair seemed to follow a rather “belt and suspenders” path throughout the discussion sometimes asking the same question of members two times.  Perhaps he considers this being thorough, but in no instance did he receive a different response to the second question than from the first.

Member Stieper provided his thoughts when asked about the deficiencies in the Anderson II language after which he asked Bob Kosin, Village Administrator, for his opinion regarding his account, particularly as it related to Floor Area Ratio codes for the primary residence on a property versus an accessory structure such as a boarding barn.

Kosin stated, “The floor area requirements are, ah, are established and they do reflect a residential basis and they’re cumulative.  So essentially what you are, um, saying is that the existing bulk regulations, the existing bulk regulations, do not give you sufficient guidelines to regulate what you’re attempting to address as large-scale commercial boarding. 

So you have a use before you and you have a series of tools in the tool box, in the zoning tool box, and the existing standards, whether it be setback, or the floor area ratio, is insufficient as a matter of right to curtail some type of jeopardy to the adjoining property owners or the community as a whole.”

Granted, we are not fully fluent in “Kosin-speak,” however we believe we understand what he is politically treading lightly on with his response as we illustrated in, “Why Anderson II must go.”  Mr. Kosin’s remarks can be heard here.

When the roll was called two of the five Zoning Board members present voted against advancing the proposal to repeal Anderson II and three voted in favor.  A public hearing on the matter when testimony will be under oath was then scheduled for November 9th at Countryside Elementary School beginning at 6:30 PM.

The agenda and documentation will be published here when available prior to the meeting.

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The Zoning Board of Appeals will hold their regular monthly meeting Monday evening, October 17th, at Countryside Elementary School beginning at 6:30 PM.  A copy of the agenda can be viewed here.

The ePacket agenda containing documents to be discussed by the board can be viewed and downloaded here.

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Audio recordings from the September 22nd Roads & Bridges Committee meeting are available for review on the Village website.  To access the menu of edited recordings by agenda topic, click here.

Trustee Gohl managed to make an appearance for the second month in a row, after over a year of consistent absences.  Perhaps the fact that he’s up for re-election next April has motivated him to fulfill his responsibility as a voting member of the committee.

The meeting began with a general discussion of the plowing services to be provided by Cuba Township for the upcoming winter season for Village roads.  Randy Marks, Highway Commissioner for the township, provided an overview of how the township deploys plows based on varying forecasts and weather conditions.

Marks reviewed with the committee the township’s policy of replacing mailboxes that may be damaged by plowing, especially if the post is not properly set in the ground, or the mailbox is not properly secured.  If a mailbox is damaged on a Village maintained road, residents can contact the Township Roads Department (website link here), and they will come out and replace it with a basic post, mailbox, or both as a part of their services free of charge.

Final detail work on the Veterans’ Crossing Bridge is nearly complete, and another ceremony is planned next month on Veteran’s Day at the bridge site.  The committee discussed concerns expressed by residents regarding line of sight at the bridge intersections and plan to address them, including clearing plant growth obstructing views at stop signs.

The 2016 road resurfacing projects have been completed, and two additional roads (Hawthorne Lane and River Road) which were not scheduled until next year for resurfacing were included in this year’s program.  Despite the addition of future projects, this year’s roads maintenance expenses still came in slightly under budget.

Chapel, Church and the northern portion of Haegers Bend Roads are scheduled for resurfacing in 2017. However, since this year’s program was so productive, the committee will be reviewing the overall long-term plan to evaluate future resurfacing projects than may be brought forward while asphalt prices are still reasonable.

The last discussion item was a right of way dedication along Church Road in preparation for Barrington Hills Farm’s planned development of a new HARPS facility – a topic Trustee Cecola has apparently received a number of questions about, specifically as to why approval is taking “so long.”  The recording of the process necessary to make this happen can be heard here, and it involves more Village bodies than simply the Roads & Bridges Committee.

It’s unclear if any political hay is being made over any perceived delay, but the recordings bear out the fact that the time needed for approval involved plans submitted by the developer of the property to the county (not Barrington Hills), and the fact that the proposed development is not in Barrington Hills.  It was mentioned that the Village requested to be involved when the HARPS plans were being considered by McHenry County, but county officials declined.

The next meeting of the Roads & Bridges Committee is scheduled for October 20th.

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Friday FlashbackFollowing are some of the articles published by The Observer for the month of September in recent 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.

Appellate court sides with Barrington Hills on horse boarding issue – 2011

The village of Barrington Hills has the authority to regulate horse boarding on residential property, according to a recent appellate court ruling that could end at least one part of three-year legal fight over a local horse farm.

Barrington Hills residents Cathleen and Benjamin LeCompte sued the village last year, challenging its jurisdiction over their Oakwood Farms, located on a residentially zoned 130-acre site along Bateman Road.

The couple appeared before Barrington Hills’ zoning board of appeals in August 2008, arguing that the operation — which features a barn large enough to house 60 horses and 110 acres of riding space — is an agricultural use outside the village’s ability to regulate. The zoning board disagreed, and a Cook County court later sided with the village.

Read the full Daily Herald article here.

Zoning Board approves horse boarding text amendment – 2014

The Zoning Board of Appeals met last Thursday evening to discuss, and possibly recommend, one of four horse boarding text amendment proposals that they had heard testimony and public comment on during previous meetings.  By the end of the meeting, the board narrowly approved a text amendment, but it was not one of the four that had been previously been heard by the board and had never before been made available to residents for comment.

Read the original Observer commentary with 33 reader comments here.

Barrington Hills board debates horse boarding plan – 2014

Barrington Hills trustees sent a controversial horse boarding plan back to the village’s zoning board Monday night for clarification on 11 points before they take a vote.

The board’s action came after more than 2½ hours of public comment and board discussion before a large group of residents in the Countryside Elementary School gymnasium.

Critics of the plan, which would allow landowners to board three horses for each acre of property, said it did not receive the proper scrutiny of the zoning board.

Revisit one of the most commented stories ever here.

So why is the Village being sued (again) over commercial horse boarding? – 2015

The simple answer to the question of why we’re being sued is that some elected and appointed Village officials put us in this position last December when they approved a commercial horse boarding amendment to our code which clearly favored one party over another in a private lawsuit that did not involve our Village.

In order to fully understand the rationale behind the suit, residents need to understand the history of one commercial horse boarding operation in the Village that has, in our opinion, consumed an inordinate amount of time, energy and taxpayers’ money for too long now.

Read or revisit the full Observer editorial with reader comments here.

Commercial horse boarding amendment commentary – 2015

When 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?

Read this guest essay from a year ago here.

* * * * * * * * *

Editor’s note: Since 2009, 223 articles have been categorized with a reference tag of “Commercial Horse Boarding” including this one in The Observer.

By any measure, this is far too many, and it is our fervent hope the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Board of Trustees can finally come to an agreement in the near future on regulations for horse boarding that all residents can live with for decades to come.  This semi-annual (and sometimes annual) unnecessary dispute between residents is a senseless waste of time and energy, and only serves to continue to divide our community.

-The Observer

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The Zoning Board of Appeals will be meeting to continue their discussions and likely vote on proposed text amendments to horse boarding and training codes this evening beginning at 6:30 PM at Countryside Elementary School.  A copy of the agenda can be viewed here.

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Audio recordings from the August 30th Zoning Board of Appeals public hearing regarding a text amendment proposal for horse boarding codes have been released.  The menu of recordings edited by agenda topic from the meeting can be accessed by clicking here.

This third and final hearing held by the Zoning Board on the matter included two hours and forty-five minutes of testimony.  Since this process began in July, the ZBA has heard a total of seven hours of testimony, including what can only be described as an hour of filibustering by the owner of Oakwood Farms at the end of the latest hearing.

Throughout this hearing process, board members have heard very few specific amendment recommendations related to the proposed text amendment, aside from, “It’s too restrictive” or “We don’t like it.” This provided little, if any, guidance for them to make changes to improve it.

As a matter of fact, not one person who testified suggested any modifications to the language itself.

However, board members also heard that the LeCompte/Anderson, or “Anderson II” codes are too liberal leaving neighbors with few, if any, options to protect their peace and privacy, especially should a new boarding and training facility be built next door without anyone asking of they would approve of such a facility.

But what was clearly evident is that many residents felt the Village had no business entertaining any petitions from residents who were currently involved in active court proceedings related to horse boarding.  A number of attorneys, whether residents, or those advising our Board of Trustees, consistently and strongly recommended that the Village not tamper with codes related to a private lawsuit.

Instead of heeding these cautions, the ZBA which was presiding in 2014 marginally approved the LeCompte/Anderson amendment, and then in 2015 by a majority of the Board of Trustees, including three trustees who are no longer on the board,  despite a presidential override of the ill-advised legislation.

Once it was confirmed that everyone who had wished to testify had had their say in the matter, the chair then adjourned the public hearing and opened the public meeting to entertain comments from the members of the Zoning Board.

There was one procedural question regarding the disposition of the amendment, and then about a twenty-minute recap of the history, both good and bad, behind the history of how Barrington Hills has handled, and mishandled, horse boarding zoning codes for over ten years was provided by David Stieper.

His commentary, opinions and citations of Village and court records can be heard here.  Once he concluded his remarks, Stieper then made the following motion:

“The Drury Amendment be adopted to the limited extent that the former Home Occupation Ordinance, which has served this Village so well in recent years, be fully reinstated into the Village Code, and that all other language in the Drury Amendment be rejected for now, and that all language in the Village Code constituting the 2014 Anderson II boarding amendment be rejected, removed from the code and held for naught.  In other words, I move that our Village Code as it relates to horse boarding be restored to that it was in year 2011.”

His motion was seconded, however due to the time limits on the use of the room, the discussion and vote was continued to the next meeting of the Zoning Board scheduled for September 20th at Countryside Elementary School at 6:30 PM.

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