Archive for the ‘Elections 2013’ Category

Editorial note: Monday’s monthly Village Board of Trustees meeting will be the last regular one for President Pro-Tem Colleen Konicek Hannigan and President Martin McLaughlin.  Here’s what the Daily Herald wrote when the two first won office eight years ago:


Barrington Hills Village President-elect Martin McLaughlin looks over results Tuesday at his election night party with Trustee-elect Colleen Konicek Hannigan. Both won election and will be sworn into office next month. (John Starks | Staff Photographer)

McLaughlin looks ahead to Barrington Hills presidency

Posted 4/10/2013 5:15 PM

A day after his upset victory over two-term Barrington Hills Village President Robert Abboud, president-elect Martin McLaughlin said his intentions remain the same as during his campaign — to return the village to the normal business of providing services cost-effectively.

McLaughlin said he’d considered divisive debates over outdoor lighting regulations and commercial horse boarding to be manufactured and unnecessary, and believes voters ultimately agreed.

“There were a lot of exhausted, weary residents who were just looking for someone to represent them,” McLaughlin said. “We need someone to actively heal the divisions. I don’t think we need to do anything great here. We just need a deep breath.”

McLaughlin said he never considered the race to be personal and hopes he can turn to Abboud as a resource in the future.

Given the perceived strength of Abboud’s campaign, McLaughlin said he never counted on more than being a messenger.

“I thought I would define issues,” McLaughlin said. “The outcome was a pleasant surprise.”

While McLaughlin would like to give the village a fresh start, he realizes there’s few times when that’s entirely possible. The village remains in the midst of addressing important issues such as the proposed Insurance Auto Auction site in neighboring East Dundee, the long lingering lawsuit over covenants governing the Sears property in Hoffman Estates and mediated negotiations toward a police contract.

McLaughlin believes the fact East Dundee voters also elected a new village president — Lael Miller — provides opportunity for a fresh start for talks about the auto auction proposal, which he considers a threat to the aquifer Barrington Hills residents use.

McLaughlin disagreed with his predecessor’s aggressive approach to East Dundee.

“Shaking hands isn’t a bad way to start, instead of shaking fists,” McLaughlin said.

He also hopes to reach a settlement on the Sears lawsuit and examine the police department’s pension system, which broke away from the state’s several years ago.

Senior Village Trustee Fritz Gohl, who won re-election Tuesday, said he’s keeping an open mind on working with the new president, whom he’s not yet met.

McLaughlin will be joined on the board by two new trustees, Gohl’s running mate, Michael Harrington, and McLaughlin’s running mate, Colleen Konicek Hannigan. Though he’s unfamiliar with McLaughlin, Gohl knows Konicek Hannigan very well.

“I know where she’s coming from because she’s a Barrington Hills lifer like me,” he said.

Having worked with both Abboud and the late Jim Kempe, Gohl said he knows the approach to the village president job has a lot to do with each president’s personality. He agrees with McLaughlin’s assessment that new leadership in East Dundee offers new opportunities for negotiation over Insurance Auto Auction.

Gohl is less certain McLaughlin will find any obvious places to cut the village budget short of laying off workers, and said he welcomes professional insight of the new president and Harrington on managing the village’s police pension fund.

More challenging will be the village’s change of leadership in the midst of police contract talks, Gohl said. The new contract will be one of many areas in which the new president will likely experience a baptism by fire.

“It’ll be interesting to see what happens,” he added. “He’ll be learning as he goes.”

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The recordings have been released from last week’s Board of Trustee’s meeting (11.17.20), and the Village Attorney’s report contained the following update:

“The only thing I can report is that the ongoing litigation relative to the horse boarding text amendment we’re zeroing in on the close of discovery. We’ve been taking depositions almost every day, and discovery closes next week and thereafter I’m sure you’ll start seeing a flurry of motions. As a matter of fact, Miss Paul becomes a deponent tomorrow.”

To listen to the recording of the November 17th BOT meeting, click here.

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Screen Shot 2018-08-26 at 2.45.14 PMOnce again, supporters of former Village President Bob Abboud have taken to the social media networks to begin creating a false controversy to stir the pot prior to the 2019 Village Board Elections.

Recently, some Facebook pages have started publishing information about the proposed Plum Farms Development in Hoffman Estates. One of these pages is purportedly run by the same individual who publicly cast aspersions upon the character of the Village President and members of the Board of Trustees in April of 2017 (but was unwilling and unable to provide any corroboration of her ridiculous accusations). See April 24th Board meeting recordings released.

Long-time readers of the Observer will recognize the same tired tactics of the Abboud-o-philes: create a false controversy, then stir up resident sentiment against current leadership and against those whom they may support in the upcoming elections. Save 5 Acres! Save Horse Boarding! Ban the Bikes! Save Open Space! Save Polo!

The Plum Farms Development in Hoffman Estates was used as a major 2017 campaign issue by Trustees Paula Jacobsen and Robert Zubak, but both have been eerily silent on the issue for well over a year. As candidates, Jacobsen and Zubak were so adamant about the Village having legal standing, authority and ability to impact this development, and they vowed to be the voices to vigorously “oppose harmful development”.

Today, as it was then, they chose to remain ignorant to the simple fact that this issue was over in 2004 when Bob Abboud and former administrator Bob Kosin botched the chance to work with the landowner to come to a development compromise that would have kept the property within the village, and would have protected our community from the dangers of deannexation of the parcel into an adjacent town with an insatiable hunger for more tax dollars.

But in fact, the current administration has been working in concert with South Barrington and District 220 to slow the progress of this development.  Strange that this hasn’t been reported by any of the social media outlets managed by those folks who enjoy stirring the pot.  Accusations of inaction and mismanagement by President McLaughlin and others on the Board will be aired, but nary a word of criticism of Jacobsen or Zubak.

And speaking of Jacobsen, the more vocal of the less-than-dynamic duo, what has she personally done with regard to Plum Farms as a Trustee? Nothing.  She bemoaned the Longmeadow Parkway project as a candidate, but did she volunteer to be on the IDOT advisory board for Route 62?  Nope.

Does anyone remember the laundry list of issues that she & Zubak used as their campaign platform? We do.


The only issue they are truly interested in is commercial horse boarding, which wasn’t in their campaign platform at all.  Strange…

And back to that lengthy list of issues — what have they accomplished from that list? Nothing. And why?  Because none of those “problems” actually existed.


Paula Jacobsen with former trustee Fritz Gohl

However, Jacobsen, who has been absent from more than 26% of the fifteen Board Meetings held since she was elected as trustee, has had the opportunity to advocate for some other interesting issues.  As stated in our previous articles, May and June 2017 Board meeting recordings released  and July Board Meeting recordings released , she has found time to question the meeting minutes which characterized her friend’s public comments at the April 24thboard meeting as slanderous.  She has questioned why the Village couldn’t have employed a warmer and fuzzier process to inform a property owner of their violation of a cease and desist order with regard to illegal demolition of a residence and violation of the tree ordinance. It should be noted that the property owner in that case was a prominent donor to her trustee campaign.

Jacobsen has pondered the complexity of the Exterior Lighting Ordinance and wondered if it shouldn’t be revisited and revised, oblivious to the divisive history of the ordinance.  Coincidentally, her interest in lighting ordinance enforcement occurred only when another friend of hers had filed a complaint against a neighbor.

Paula has also suggested giving landmark status to historical homes in the village.  When asked to explain who would be the arbiter of this distinction and the mechanics of implementation or enforcement, she had no suggestion.

She also has given detailed reports of Arbor Day plans by the Heritage & Environs Committee at no fewer than three meetings. Let’s hear it for the oak sapling giveaway!!

And there has been advocacy for costly live video-streaming of Village Board meetings, which are only attended by a handful of the same residents each month.

It is not surprising that NONE of these issues were in the Jacobsen/Zubak campaign platform and that NONE of the issues in the platform have been pursued by the duo in any meaningful way in the past fifteen months.

And why is that? Because a quiet village operating harmoniously is not something the Abboud-o-philes can tolerate.  They must have controversy and they will create controversy were none exists. And when faced with the reality that President McLaughlin & this Administration have delivered on each and every promise they have made to the community, they pivot back to the old worn-out talking points. The village is operating better than it ever has, spending has been slashed and services are more efficient.  And that makes some embittered people very unhappy.  Change is not easy for some. And they are desperate to regain control.

So the pot stirring will continue.  With a little eye of newt and toe of frog mixed in for good measure.  Here’s hoping that this bad spell will be broken soon.

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President McLaughlin


Trustee Konicek Hannigan

On Tuesday night, Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin and Trustee Colleen Konicek Hannigan were sworn in for their second terms, and the “Your Barrington Hills” (YBH) slate candidates Paula Jacobsen and Robert Zubak were sworn in for the first time.

In his opening remarks, President McLaughlin expressed his desire that board members, both old and new, would be working together in solving issues in a collaborative way and welcomed new ideas and initiatives. As hopeful and inclusive as his words were, we are not as optimistic that the new trustees will be anything more than a retread of the ideologies and failed policies espoused in past campaigns by former Village President Bob Abboud in 2009, the “Save Five Acres” slate in 2011 or the “Save Open Space” slate in 2015. In fact, most of the strategies employed by YBH in 2017 are directly out of the old regime’s playbook.

They employed the same strategy that Abboud did in his initial run for Village Presidency in 2005; create an issue (Save Five Acres), scare the residents with false allegations via a “ghost writer” (John Rosene), and impugn the character of those running against you. That technique was right out of the pages of “Rules for Radicals” by Saul Alinsky, the patron saint of morally bankrupt liberal politicians, who believe that the end justifies the means!

Recently joining in this assault on the unwary residents of the Village was Kristina Anderson with her inflammatory and inaccurate comments to the Board of Trustees at their April meeting, as chronicled in our article April 24th Board Meeting Recordings Released

In response to the proposed Plum Farm development in Hoffman Estates on land disconnected from the Village in 2004, Anderson created a Facebook group to oppose the development primarily due to its projected tax and student impacts to School District 220 & 300 taxpayers. We applaud her and other participating residents for speaking up at Hoffman Estates public meetings on this crucial issue – it’s often these types of grass-roots movements that can have great influence.

However, in addressing the Village Board, Anderson crossed the line between innuendo and untruthfulness a number of times. She presented herself as the beacon of truth, but she provided zero evidence for her wide-ranging allegations. Here are just a few examples:

  • Allegation? Discontinuation of non-emergency police coverage.  REALITY: Untrue. Residents’ access to a non-emergency number still exists today, seven days a week. It has never gone away.  Chief Semelsberger described non-emergency call coverage during the April Board of Trustees meeting in detail. (see link. The only change is that after-hours non-emergency calls are now answered by Quad-com dispatchers, just as all village emergency 911 calls are. According to the Chief, these calls are answered by the same dispatch and our Barrington Hills officers respond as they always have if not engaged in true emergency situations.
  • Allegation? Hills and Dales Farm [sic] and Cressey’s property are already zoned by McHenry County for less than five acre lots. REALITY: Untrue. The Duchossois’ Hill ‘N Dale Farm and the Cressey’s Cresswood Farm, both located in unincorporated McHenry County, are NOT zoned for less than five acre lots. They are not zoned for lots of any size at all! Both are zoned A-1 for agriculture. This is a fact that is easily looked up and disproven.
  • Allegation? Board members haven’t declared their support for 5 acres. REALITY: Untrue. Every piece of literature from Colleen Konicek Hannigan and, Martin McLaughlin in 2013 and in 2017, and every piece of literature from Brian Croll, Michelle Maison and Brian Cecola in 2015 included a commitment to 5 acre zoning minimums. Over 5 years and in at least 12 mailers, each have each stated their support for five acre zoning. And every action by these five as members of the Board of Trustees has been consistent with maintaining this current zoning. There is not an ounce of truth to Ms. Anderson’s claims in this regard.
  • Allegation? Board members have undisclosed interests with the Hoffman Estates Plum Tree Farms developers. REALITY: Untrue. This is such a blatantly false allegation it’s hard to even take this breathless advocate of the people seriously here.  Anthony Iatarola does not have investors linked in ANY way to any members of the Board of Trustees. This claim is completely ridiculous, and, quite frankly, irresponsible.
  • Allegation? President McLaughlin and the Board of Trustees have not been using all legal means at their disposal to object to the Plum Farms development. REALITY: Untrue. As described in the aforementioned Observer summary of the April 24th Board of Trustee Meeting synopsis, many discussions, both public and behind the scenes, have taken place with participation by McLaughlin, Village Attorneys, Village Administration, Trustee Michelle Maison and others. With regard to the oft-mentioned 1.5-mile planning jurisdiction, the village’s lawyers have explained that this does not apply in this instance because Barrington Hills and Hoffman Estates do not have a border agreement (despite several overtures by Barrington Hills in recent years). South Barrington has a legal right to object because it DOES have a border agreement with its neighbor. And due to McLaughlin’s excellent relationship with South Barrington President Paula McCombie, Barrington Hills has been able to sit in on meetings with South Barrington and offer input on strategy.

The simple facts are that open space and 5 acre zoning in Barrington Hills are not threatened by the incumbent Village President and Trustees. We are extremely disappointed that a resident, and an attorney no less, would stand up at a Board Meeting and make such unfounded allegations and insinuations. And, sadly, many of those allegations also came out of Jacobsen and Zubak’s YBH campaign and were eerily reminiscent of the Abboud-backed Save 5 Acres and Save Open Space campaigns. And we are left to wonder if Ms. Anderson was making her opening statement for a 2019 trustee run. We sincerely hope not.


Trustee Jacobsen


Trustee Zubak

So here we are, just one month after the village election, seeing the inflammatory campaign rhetoric continue. If Jacobsen and Zubak decide to adhere to the failed strategies and policies of the deposed Abboud regime, they will only continue to divide the community, and will sadly bring more harm to the equestrian community which they profess to support.

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Campaign Piggy BankAlthough 2016 is not an election year in Barrington Hills for seats on our Board of Trustees, at least four prior political committees are still reporting available campaign funds to the Illinois State Board of Elections in their latest quarterly reports due Friday, January 15th.  Three of those committees reporting date back to the 2013 election.

Here is the information from the four committees we found from elections board records, in descending order of financial balances (presumably available for the 2017 Village election campaigns):

Save Open Space – Barrington Hills Trustees NFP:  We never quite understood what the “NFP” stood for, but clearly this didn’t bother donors.  The SOS Party amassed enough campaign funds in 2014 and 2015 that they now have about $22,000 remaining in their coffers. 

A copy of their latest financial report can be viewed here.

Country Oaks Committee to Elect Robert G Abboud:  The former Village President also has excess funds from his 2013 Save 5 Acres campaign for office, totaling roughly $4,800.  A copy of that committee’s latest filing can be viewed here.  

Unite Barrington Hills: Also formed before the 2013 election, this committee which supported current board members Colleen Konicek and Martin McLaughlin shows a balance of about $3,000.  Their latest report can be viewed here.

Friends of Kelly Mazeski:  This committee was also one of four operating independently to support a candidate running under the Save 5 Acres moniker in 2013, and it has a balance of around $700.  A copy of the report can be viewed here.

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It’s said that the best gift you can give someone is your time, because you’re giving them something you can never get back.  Though many forget to recognize this often enough, two residents have provided more than their share of their valuable time for the benefit of everyone in Barrington Hills, and that’s why we are naming both of them as 2015 Shining Stars.

2015 BHO Shining Star Awards

Nearly three years ago, Colleen Konicek Hannigan and Martin McLaughlin made a choice to run for office at a time when Barrington Hills politics was highly charged.   They counted on the integrity they knew was inherent in most residents in their straightforward campaign, and now we can look back on the results of their efforts since they were elected.

Overall spending by the Village has decreased, particularly as it relates to legal fees.  This is due in no small part to their push for the appointment of new Village counsel with practical expertise in municipal and zoning laws — at nearly half the hourly rate of the former law firm.  Ending the protracted eighteen-year Sears lawsuit against our Village and South Barrington has had a significant effect as well.

For the second year in a row when they had input, the annual Village budget has decreased.  Even with these decreases, last year’s spending was nearly three quarters of a million dollars less than the 2014 budget.

The 2014 audit report best summarizes the fruit of their hard work by stating, “The reduction in spending can be attributed to reduced legal fees, and sound management practice, and reduced administrative expenses.”    

In addition to the Sears lawsuit, Colleen and Martin have also resolved other major legacy issues.  Two new labor agreements with our sworn Village police officers have been secured with the help of another accomplished new attorney which they engaged since our police unionized nearly six years ago in 2009 under the former administration.

Village road resurfacing now seems to be back on track after an all-time low of only 1.5 miles of roads maintained in 2009.  Additionally, with the assistance of Trustee Brian Cecola, new avenues for improving county and state roads in the Village should result in improved maintenance of vital thoroughfares such as Brinker Road.

And they shined a light on the controversial proposed Longmeadow Parkway project and brought it out of the shadows for residents in its path, as well as those who will be affected by it, with public meetings and updates from Kane County.

They’ve also done their share to bring our widely dispersed community together.  Three successful annual “Hills are Alive Heritage Fests”, at no cost to taxpayers, have been held since they were elected, and they have demonstrated that our residents welcome the opportunity to unite for an event to meet their neighbors, to learn about many community organizations and to share some family fun.

Despite this highly abridged summary of their contributions to their constituency thus far, it seems these two have not curtailed their other contributions to the community, nor their devotion to their full-time professional careers in their legal and financial practices.

Colleen continues to be an anchor planner, coordinator and participant in the Barrington Honor Ride and Run for wounded veterans, as well as participating in numerous other community and philanthropic events throughout the year.

Martin recently accepted the chairman’s role in BACOG and continues to serve in the Barrington Lions Club, in addition to being a father of five daughters.

We’re pleased to recognize Colleen Konicek Hannigan and Martin McLaughlin as the 2015 Shining Star award recipients.  Their time and dedication to the betterment of Barrington Hills, as well as their devotion to all in the surrounding community, cannot be overstated, nor can our appreciation for their hard work.

The Observer

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Friday FlashbackFollowing are some of the articles published by The Observer in January since 2010. 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.

Barrington Hills taxpayers to pick up the tab for BACOG – 2012

Over objections raised by two trustees, the Board accepted Abboud’s arguments that BACOG’s imminent financial demise justified his rent free offer, and that BACOG had provided “millions of dollars” in benefits to Barrington Hills, including protection of five acre minimum zoning.  It’s a shame that a majority of our trustees did not see through Abboud’s baloney and his blatant power grab.

Read the 2012 Observer editorial here.

Agendas must be clearer Jan. 1 – 2013

House Bill 4687, which takes effect Jan. 1, somewhat strengthens the Illinois Open Meetings Act, requiring local government meeting agendas to set forth the “general subject matter” of any issue that will be up for a final vote. But just how strong the improvement ends up being may be up to the office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Read the Northwest Herald story here.

Who in the suburbs pays the most in property taxes? – 2013

In 2010, Barrington Hills collected roughly $6.8 million in property taxes, mainly from its 4,209 residents, according to the village’s property tax data.

According to the Daily Herald, the top five suburban taxes collected per capita in 2010 were:

  • Barrington Hills – $1,617.62
  • Rosemont* – $1,382.27
  • South Barrington – $562.57
  • Elk Grove Village – $467.64
  • Tower Lakes – $455.49

* Rosemont abates most, if not all, of its property taxes each year.

Read the complete Daily Herald story here.

Report: County water supply could soon become a problem – 2014

A new Illinois State Water Survey study says what a multitude of studies before it have concluded – McHenry County’s groundwater supply could become a big problem over the next decades.

In a 242-page report released Tuesday, the survey team led by hydrogeologist Scott Meyer concluded that, if left unchecked, groundwater resources by 2050 could be strained to the point of water shortages and adverse effects on rivers, streams and wetlands.

Read the Northwest Herald report from a year ago here.

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In his WTTW documentary “Northwest of Chicago,” Geoffrey Baer quoted a local source who declared Barrington Hills, Barrington and South Barrington to be “North shore communities without the shore.”  This may have been true when the show first aired, but this is far from accurate today.

Read any recent real estate report on the average time on the market for homes in our area and you’ll find our Village bests all others for the wrong reasons.  Barrington Hills homes consistently have the longest time on the market and lead at the lowest sale price compared to the original asking price.  Home and lot values have plunged to prices not seen in over a decade.

It doesn’t take a WTTW documentary to conclude that recent political unrest and unnecessary drama are making us the pariah of the Chicago suburbs, which clearly is not helping, and probably is hurting, property values.

This includes the false recent drama over bike lanes; the real and potentially character changing debate over commercial horse boarding; and the embarrassing fiasco over the exterior lighting ordinance in our recent history.  Outsiders can reasonably question whether they want to have any part of this madness.

For example, one vacant five-acre lot in our Village is now going for $119,900.  Another breathtaking estate on Hawthorne Rd has had its price slashed by more than fifty-percent of the original eight-figure asking price.

While the housing market across the country is generally picking up after years of decline, this is not the case in Barrington Hills.  True, there are a number of factors beyond our control, but there is one major factor we can clearly change for the better, and that’s to stop making our Village look arrogant, dysfunctional elitists time and time again.

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Since 2005, some of our elected politicians and residents have made some local issues very public.  Residents do have every right to voice their concerns loudly, but it’s usually a few politicians that make our Village look bad.

First, there was a proposal for sky-high cell towers in our picturesque Village by some on our Village board.  Then, there was the ill-conceived exterior lighting ordinance proposal from a small group of “dark sky” zealots on our board and in the community, which outraged residents enough that the issue was covered in the Wall Street Journal (seeEverything is Diluminated”).

One of this year’s topics of resident concern is bike lanes.  While The Observer shares many resident concerns on this hot-button issue, all of this would have been alleviated back in 2012, if the administration at the time actually communicated with residents about the plan before pursuing it.

Two newspapers recently took  Barrington Hills’ residents to the woodshed in editorials over objections to bikers in our Village.  And even though residents were assured over a month ago that there will be no bike lanes in our Village, the group “Don’t Change Barrington Hills” (apparently assisted  by the former Village President) persists in encouraging their supporters to keep protest signs up along our roadways and continues to disseminate rumor and innuendo on their website.

Do you think that helps our property values?  Do you think that encourages people to seriously consider Barrington Hills as a place to make their home?

Additionally, we have commercial horse boarding amendments back on the table — for the third time since 2005.  Calling itself “Save Horse Boarding in Barrington Hills,” one group circulated an online petition based on a false mission statement that has garnered electronic signatures from as far away as southern Yemen.

Really?  After all, we were “branded” by the former administration as an “equestrian community” years ago, so why do we still not have effective codes to address commercial horse boarding?  Perhaps we are waiting for advice from southern Yemen!

Sadly, the Village Board meeting held earlier this week provided even more fodder for the press.  We find it a very interesting coincidence that this was the very first meeting reporters have attended since President McLaughlin was sworn in.

It certainly was convenient, considering the clearly rehearsed barrage by four trustees against the chair due to the dismissal of the law firm that has cost our Village millions of taxpayers’ money.

Regular readers of The Observer are familiar with our monthly “Flashbacks” column, and each month it pains us to review what our Village reputation has endured in the press for many years.  Yet there is still a dwindling faction among residents who get pleasure it seems  by fueling misinformation and innuendo.

It’s time for us to stop being a sideshow for the entertainment of surrounding communities.  Instead of “Don’t Change Barrington Hills,” a more productive goal is “Let’s Change Barrington Hills.”

After all, didn’t most residents vote for that goal in the last election?

–     The Observer

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Friday FlashbackFollowing are some of the articles published by The Observer for the month of August 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.

‘Dark Sky’ proposal sent to Village Board – 2010

The skies over Barrington Hills won’t go dark, despite two years of work on a proposal to limit outside lighting, until 2031 under a plan moved forward Wednesday night.

The Zoning Board of Appeals chose that year over 2021 — with both dates well into the future in order to save homeowners from having to spend “a significant amount of money” to retrofit their lighting systems, said Joe von Meier, village attorney.

Read the original Tribune article here.

Horse boarding continues to draw controversy in Barrington Hills – 2011

Barrington Hills officials agree the village’s ordinance on home businesses needs tweaking to deal with large commercial horse boarders on residential properties, but they disagree on what exactly needs to be done.

Read the original Observer posting here.

Thanks for the reminder, President Abboud. It is time for change.  – 2012

A Daily Herald article published on July 30, 2012 predicted that horse boarding was likely to be an election issue in Barrington Hills—yet again (see Horse boarding likely to be an election issue in Barrington Hills).  In that article, Barrington Hills Village President Robert Abboud was quoted as follows:

“Given the kind of body politic that we have, I don’t see that these kind of things are going to end. It was lighting before; it’ll be something else. I hope these experiences give our community some pause to look at these things with a critical eye.”

On this, Abboud is right.  These experiences should give our community pause to examine the recent years, and controversies, with a critical eye.  And when they do, they should see that these controversies have one thing in common—they’re always churned by Bob Abboud and his administration at the expense of residents.

Read the original Observer editorial here.

Escape into the country — by bike- 2013

When you go on vacation, do you ever rent bikes and enjoy rides on quiet rural roads?  Do you ever wish there were some quiet rural roads closer to home so you wouldn’t have to wait for vacation?

Say hello to the Barrington Hills and South Barrington area.

View the original Observer post including comments and a link to the article here.

–     The Observer

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blame-gameThere’s been a lot of commotion in our Village lately surrounding bike lanes, a traffic island, and about the cyclists who use (and sometimes abuse) our Village roads.

The catalyst for this upheaval was an April Plan Commission agenda item stating the Village Engineer was providing a “Bicycle Path Planning Report.”  Residents along Haegers Bend, Plum Tree and Spring Creek Roads attended the meeting and were clearly upset with what they learned.

It was at that meeting it was revealed that an application requesting road repair funding from the McHenry County Council of Mayors had been submitted by our Village back in 2012 to reconstruct Haegers Bend Road.   That funding request had been turned down.  But the Village decided to reapply for funding early this year, and was looking to add dedicated paved bicycle lanes to the reconstruction project in an attempt to improve their chances for success.

No one on the Plan Commission could immediately address the numerous questions that the concerned residents had that evening since this was the first they’d learned of it, as the planning for Haegers Bend was under the purview of the Roads and Bridges Committee, not Planning.

Over the next few months, the Plan Commission members attempted to gather more background through painstaking questioning of the Village Engineer, Dan Strahan and the Village Administrator, Bob Kosin.  Often these gentlemen are not very forthcoming with information, so the process was grueling, but gradually each meeting revealed more history, and with every new discovery, residents became more and more incensed.

During a subsequent meeting, residents learned that Spring Creek Road had been reclassified as a “FAU” route at the request of the Roads and Bridges Committee chaired by Trustee Patty Meroni.  Also, Trustee Meroni had extended an offer to McHenry County to remove the traffic island at Haegers Bend and Spring Creek Roads in return for the FAU designation, which could again improve the Village’s chances for possible outside funding.

Meroni 06Starting in April, Trustee Meroni regularly attended Plan Commission meetings.  If she was absent, Trustee Selman attended in her stead.

Since most of what was discussed during these meetings came as a result of actions by the Roads and Bridges Committee, we find it curious that Meroni had so much interest in attending, yet failed to participate or add any clarity during the meetings based on audio recordings from those meetings.

Over time some residents became increasingly frustrated and angry, so they took matters into their own hands.  With the lack of forthright disclosure of information from those involved in the apparent  political parlaying of their roads for outside funding, who could blame them?

Dont ChangeSigns such as the one pictured at left began sprouting up in many areas in the Village that bicycle clubs frequent.  Shortly after that, a website was launched by the leaders of those opposing bike lanes titled Don’t Change Barrington Hills.

The Observer noticed this website shortly after it launched and found it inexplicable how the group was blaming President McLaughlin for the bike lane initiative when we now see what Trustee Meroni and the former Village administration had been doing to our Village roads.  After all, McLaughlin wasn’t even in office with the purported “land grab” that the website refers to was first hatched.

Perplexed by this absurdity, we asked our technology consultant to look into the phantom host behind this website.  The following URL address was revealed:RGA Labs Host

Need convincing?  Click here and look at the URL address in your browser before someone changes it.

For those who don’t know, RGA Labs is a company run by former Barrington Hills Village President Robert G. Abboud who lost his two-term seat to McLaughlin in the 2013 election.  Since Abboud’s company website is hosting the anti-bike lane campaign, this clearly makes one question how much of a contribution the former president has made to the inflammatory and often misinformed content published on this website.

The Observer will be providing more in-depth coverage of this topic, including links to documents explaining what has actually transpired regarding our roads, in part two of this editorial.

In the meantime, we advise our readers to carefully consider the source of any information they receive on this matter.

–     The Observer

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