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BACC-HiRes-cropSeveral officials representing schools, libraries, park districts and other local governments in the Barrington area will address the issues facing their constituents during an upcoming public forum.

Hosted by the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce, the second annual “Public Town Hall Forum” lets Barrington area residents hear from their local officials directly and under one roof, said Suzanne Corr, president and CEO of the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce.

“This public town hall forum offers residents and business leaders in the Barrington area a chance to hear firsthand vital information about how their tax dollars are being used in our communities,” Corr said in a news release.

Attendees also can submit questions to the speakers during the event, which starts at 8 a.m. April 25 at Makray Memorial Golf Club, 1010 S. Northwest Highway, Barrington.

To register for the event, interested residents can call 847-381-2525 or visit the chamber’s web site at www.barringtonchamber.com.

The speakers for this year’s forum include Jesse Henning, the new executive director of the Barrington Area Library; Brian Harris, superintendent of Barrington School District 220; Jim Kreher, fire chief of the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District; Dennis Kelly, treasurer of the Barrington Hills Park District; Teresa Jennings, executive director of the Barrington Park District; Jay Morgan, executive director of the South Barrington Park District; and Kenneth Ender, president of Harper College, the chamber said.

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

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unnamedA late addition to a newly approved residential development that could add more than 1,000 units in Hoffman Estates still hasn’t changed the minds of officials at Barrington School District 220.

The Barrington-based district has opposed the development since the project developer, 5a7 LLC in Barrington, proposed building residences on 185 acres near routes 59 and 72, arguing the massive housing project would overcrowd certain District 220 schools near the site.

Hoffman Estates officials decided to delay a vote on the proposal earlier this spring after District 220 and other area taxing bodies resoundingly rejected a proposed tax-increment-financing district for the project but they forged ahead Monday, agreeing unanimously to annex the proposed acreage into Hoffman Estates.

Village officials also approved a late addition to the proposal meant to address concerns raised by District 220 and nearby Algonquin-based School District 300, including a 5.5-acre parcel that would be developed into a new school building.

Martin McLaughlin, board president of Barrington Hills, called the addition of the 5.5 acres for a new school “a low-ball offer.”

“And the housing development does not fit with the character of area of routes 52 and 72, especially with high-rise buildings going in,” he said.

To read the full article in the Barrington Courier-Review, click here.

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 Audio recordings from the April 24, 2017 meeting of the Board of Trustees have been posted. To access the menu of recordings edited by agenda item, click here.

The meeting began with service awards being presented to outgoing Trustees Fritz Gohl and Mike Harrington.  President Martin McLaughlin very graciously acknowledged the service and work provided to the village by these two individuals over their terms.  His words were particularly diplomatic towards the latter, considering the highly critical vitriolic speeches that Harrington routinely directed towards McLaughlin. Those diplomatic remarks by the President, as well as Gohl’s unnecessary parting shot of  “don’t F* up the five acre zoning”, can be heard here.

Next, one speaker, Kristina Anderson, made public comment on two issues, and due to the very inflammatory and accusatory nature of her remarks, we have transcribed them  in full at the end of this article.  You can listen for yourself here.  Apparently, in the eyes of the equestrian extremists loyal to the former village president, campaigning for the 2019 Election has already begun, continuing on the false narrative presented by the newly elected Your Barrington Hills trustees — Paula Jacobsen and Bob Zubak — during this year’s election cycle.

During the Finance portion of the meeting, the hiring of a part-time permit coordinator for the Building Department was discussed.  Village resident Nikki Panos was hired last month after interviewing with the Personnel Committee, Village Administrator Bob Kosin, Village Clerk Anna Paul and Ken Garrett from the Building Department.

It was explained that the Village’s Building Code Enforcement Officer Ken Garrett had been devoting 30-40% of his time in the office, mainly performing filing duties, and was being compensated at the rate of $100/hour.  The new permit coordinator is being paid $20/hour, creating a substantial cost savings to the village, and allowing Garrett to spend more productive time in the field. It was further explained that having a resident as coordinator is beneficial, as there is less of a learning curve for an employee who already understands the complexities of the village and has a better familiarity of obscure village roads, etc.

In the Public Safety portion of the meeting, Trustee Brian Cecola complimented the Police Department on its successful use of the Village’s reverse-911 alerts in helping inform residents about a missing fifth-grade girl earlier in the month.

Chief Semelsberger addressed the aforementioned public commenter’s complaints regarding the supposed discontinuation of the non-emergency police phone number.  He explained that Monday-Friday, from 8 AM-4PM, the police non-emergency number, (847) 551-3006, is the same as it has always been, and then after-hours, the QuadCom non-emergency number should be used.  Either way, dispatchers answer the phone, press a button on their console and are able to direct police to the person’s home.  If (847) 551-3006 is called after-hours, the caller receives a message giving them the QuadCom non-emergency number which is (847) 428-8784. The Chief expressed satisfaction with the operation of the system and stressed that a non-emergency number is always available to residents, in addition to 911 services. Readers can listen to the full discussion by clicking this link.

During the Planning section, President McLaughlin refuted the commenter’s allegations about the lack of Barrington Hills’ leadership being involved in the ongoing Hoffman Estates development battle.  He described that he has personally attended three public meetings.  Trustee Michelle Maison has, in fact, also attended and presented at a public meeting, as well as  participated in a pre-meeting with representatives of School District 220 and District 300 to plan joint strategies to address the Hoffman Estates annexation/development of the Iatarola property at the northwest corner of Routes 72 & 59. Adminstrator Kosin has also participated in a number of meetings.  McLaughlin described the current attempt to amend the existing pre-annexation agreement dating back to 2004, back when the property was originally de-annexed from Barrington Hills.  He complimented Ms. Anderson’s involvement in advocating for a group of citizens, but was very clear that her perception of lack of involvement on the part of the village board or administration is completely unfounded and she should know better because she personally was in attendance at meetings where McLaughlin, Maison and Kosin all presented remarks.  In addition, he reminded the public that many meetings and discussions have taken place in between public meetings with school district representatives and various attorneys from the villages involved.

McLaughlin further expressed that Barrington Hills is operating from a deficit position, legally speaking, as our village does not have a boundary agreement with Hoffman Estates, unlike South Barrington which does. However, due to our good relationship with South Barrington, the village has been permitted to sit in on meetings with them and to provide input representing our village’s interests.  (It should be noted that Barrington Hills approached Hoffman Estates in 2013 and 2014 concerning a border agreement, but Hoffman Estates expressed no interest in such an agreement.)  McLaughlin also described the united front that D220 & D300 are presenting to the proposed development.

McLaughlin also addressed Anderson’s allegation that members of the board may have personal interests in the Iatorola development, stating ” I have no idea where that’s coming from”. He further described his good working relationship and open lines of communication with Hoffman Estates Mayor Bill McLeod.  And the board members all scoffed at the insinuation that anyone was in favor of eliminating five acre zoning.

The Planning portion of the meeting can be heard here in its entirety.  Unfortunately, Ms. Anderson had exited the meeting after making her remarks, so she heard none of the corrections to her unfounded inflammatory comments.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Good evening, I’m Kristina Anderson. I live at ### here in the beautiful village of Barrington Hills. Before I get to the main reason why I’m here tonight, I want…seeing the Chief, I just wanted to comment, maybe someone has already said this to you guys the residents really miss the police non-emergency number. We loved it. When something would happen that we didn’t deem a life and death emergency but, you know, they’re back on Healy setting off fireworks or things like this, the ability to call our own police and report it and have them come out and deal with it was fantastic. So I don’t know how much of a cost savings was achieved by getting rid of it, but if it’s a buck or five bucks a household I think most residents would pay it. So I would urge you to reconsider that. If there is a logistical problem to not having it that I don’t know, forgive me. But if there is a way to put it back in, residents loved it and residents miss it. We love our police they do an awesome job. We don’t want to put them to more work than we should, but when they are available to come out on the non-emergency calls, they deal with um problems before the problem gets worse. And that’s really nice.

But why I’m really here tonight, is in fact, to talk about the five acre zoning and to see if am some of the trustees and/or President McLaughlin can take up the cause of the Hoffman Estates development. As you know the continued zoning meeting over there is tonight. I don’t know if any of you are going or you’re sending your village lawyer, which I would strongly urge you to do. Because South Barrington is sending their village lawyers. They sent them last week …their mayor, their trustees, their village engineer, and is really stepping up. And I’d really like to see Barrington Hills step up in the same way and fight for our residents on the issue of five acre zoning, which becomes threatened the more dense developments we have on our borders. As we build more and more dense developments on the borders, super dense, crazy dense like this one which even Hoffman Estates says is unprecedented in its density, we then create the opportunity for people to feather in from the village, have 2 ac… you know, a quarter acre, a half an acre, one acre, two acres, and we shrink the village down into its central little nugget as we do that.

And we know that the Hills & Dales Duchossois property, the Cressey property, are zoned already by McHenry County for less than five acres. Some of you guys may want that, some of you guys might be realtors, or real estate owners or developers. Some of you guys may have a personal connection to Mr. Iatarola or his family, or those investments. We know there are people in the community that do and want to protect their investments and I would urge you guys to disclose that – if you have interests in the Iatarola property or have interests in seeing the village go to less than five-acre zoning. But I would also urge you guys, if you’re committed to five acre zoning, to tell us all that you are committed to five acre zoning, say that publicly, that you’re going to fight for it, and then really step up and fight for it because this is the way to keep the village the way that it is. And I don’t think any of you want Barrington Hills to be South Barrington or Hoffman Estates. Those are great communities but those aren’t the ones we moved to.

So, I speak for many, many people who couldn’t be here tonight and who are members of the group is opposing the Hoffman development. We are concerned about that and the impact upon the village, the traffic, the schools, all of it. Public safety, um, the truth is that no one knows what that development is going to look like and no one knows if it’s going to be fancy or low-income housing. We don’t know, we really don’t know and so its really important that we fight for the village and its safety and security, and to make sure, as we move forward, the Oak Knoll property that’s fifty acres, the Duchossois property if that eventually goes, we don’t want to see those become high density too and this sets a dangerous precedent. So, I speak for the residents in urging you guys to continue to fight this.

 

 

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unnamed Hoffman Estates trustees on Monday voted to continue their discussion of a controversial annexation and development agreement for 145 acres previously disconnected from Barrington Hills until next Monday, April 24.

Several village board members, including Mayor Bill McLeod, cited the speed at which they and affected members of the community had had to absorb a massive amount of detailed information over the weekend.

Though the vote was unanimous, Trustee Gary Pilafas said he didn’t believe the delay would benefit him.

He added that it was his duty to get through the 390 pages of documents over the holiday weekend, and that he recognized the developer’s plans as consistent with previous approvals granted to other parts of the same site at routes 59 and 72 back in 2004.

The link to the complete Daily Herald article is here.

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Less than a week remains until the election, and predictably, a flurry of 11th hour campaign mailings are landing in mailboxes, proclaiming breaking news and urgent bulletins, all carefully timed to prevent rebuttal by their targets, Martin McLaughlin and Colleen Konicek Hannigan.

This time, the mailings, which are highly critical of Marty and Colleen, are coming from a private citizen, rather than a candidate’s campaign committee, so we will not name the person in question.  But the individual is well known as a key member of the polo club,  as one of the most extreme equestrians in the village and as a bosom buddy of the former village president. Readers should be familiar with his notorious 2005 White Paper.

In his first mailing, he basically repeated many of the fabricated claims that have been raised by the Your Barrington Hills candidates Iacovelli, Jacobsen and Zubak, whom he supports, along with Equestrienne Ramesh.  Our feature Meet the Candidates Part Two: YBH — the Trojan Horsemen, published yesterday, set the record straight on many of those issues.

The second letter received today alleges a lawsuit recently filed against the village concerning commercial horse boarding is being hidden from residents.  The writer attempts rile up the electorate with false outrage and cries of lack of transparency.  Funny thing is, he fails to mention that one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit is the very same owner/operator of the commercial boarding operation on Bateman Road that has already cost our village taxpayers hundreds of thousands in legal fees in numerous lawsuits over the last decade.  Oh, and the letter writer’s polo club has an arrangement with that plaintiff to use the polo field at that very boarding facility.

So what about the assertion that the trustees and the public have not been made aware of the lawsuit?  Untrue. We direct you to the recently released recording of the Village Board meeting held on March 21st, 2017 when the lawsuit was IN FACT discussed in open session in the first board meeting held after the case was filed.  Click here to hear Village Attorney Patrick Bond’s statement that the Board was emailed a litigation update regarding the amended complaint in connection with that case.  It is apparent that both the Board and the public have been made aware of the filings.

[We wonder where the letter writer’s outrage was when the Sears litigation went on for 13 YEARS without mention to the public until President McLaughlin took it upon himself to work with South Barrington to settle that suit, which could have meant a $20 million dollar judgment against the two villages if Sears had prevailed.]

The March 21st recordings also include the Chief of Police Rich Semelsberger describing the village’s continuing use of the CTY Community Alert System.  His discussion not only makes it clear that the alert system has not been abandoned, but actually has been used, in his words, ” very liberally” for announcements of road closures, chemical spills, missing persons, etc.  He further clarified that the Police Department makes the decision to issue an alert, not the president or the board, and that the Department balances the public’s need to know with the timeliness of the message.  Semelsberger’s comments about the CTY alerts, including a mention of a FOIA request having been filed and fulfilled on the topic, can be heard here.

The Chief also responded to a Board question about police staffing here, and explained that in the 28 years that he has been with the department, there have always been a minimum of two officers on patrol at any given time.  Currently there are two officers out on extended injury, and as a result, other personnel have been reassigned to ensure adequate coverage.  Additionally, there are two new officers scheduled to begin training at the Illinois State Police Academy on April 9th, as a result of a screening process that began last year.

So, the claims about the “hidden lawsuit” are false. Claims about the abandonment of the CTY Alert System are false. Claims about insufficient police staffing are false. Claims about FOIA expenses are false. Claims about rebranding are false. Claims about 911 dispatch outsourcing are false. And on, and on, and on.

Four days remain until the election, and we see the same pitiful pattern of deception that we’ve seen in previous campaigns. Outrageous claims are made, lawsuits and FOIA requests filed, and last minute grenades are launched — all by the same bad actors.  It’s the same small vocal group, inextricably tied to the former president, that spews misinformation and attempts to bully and intimidate the regular folks in the village.  In 2013, voters said “Enough!” In 2015, they shouted “ENOUGH!”  In 2017, let’s get the big hook out and finally drag those bad actors off of the village stage once and for all.

We encourage our readers to stay informed and to share our posts with their friends and neighbors as this critical campaign draws to a conclusion on Tuesday.

[NOTE: The Observer itself is mentioned in both of the aforementioned mailings, and we have to say that free advertising is always appreciated, although not needed, as our readership is booming.]

 

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TruthWC

Three candidates running on the “Your Barrington Hills” (YBH) slate are seeking public office for the first time in Barrington Hills. Their names (Louis Iacovelli for president, Paula Jacobsen and Robert Zubak for trustee) are not familiar to most residents, as none of them have had any prior experience or position in our village government. However, their names are definitely well-known in the equestrian community, as they and their spouses have been intimately involved in the Riding Club of Barrington Hills (RCBH). As we’ve published previously, all three of these candidates and Elaine Ramesh, running separately from the slate, have all meticulously avoided nearly any reference to their penchant for all things equestrian during their campaigns.

The question being asked is, did these three choose to run because of their genuine interest in the welfare of all village residents, or did they run at the behest of others who share a hidden agenda?

The YBH candidates, can find no real fault with the record of the current administration, and have had to manufacture issues, frequently grossly misrepresenting facts in their mailers, social media platforms and their newspaper interviews, a technique taken out of the playbook of the former village president, and the Save 5 Acres and SOS campaigns in recent election cycles. Not only are their allegations not based in fact,  their responses to the candidate questionnaires published in two suburban newspapers, are nearly identical, as if penned by the same hand. They all present the same, disingenuous information, either by design to discredit and malign the current administration, or by laziness in researching village documents. Whatever the reason for the deception, none are worthy of candidacy for Village office.

Let’s examine some of the spin coming out of the Riding Club camp:

  • YBH Spin: The new 911 dispatch service is not working as well as the former in-house system?  REALITY: This is not supported by fact. According to the Chief of Police, the outsourced system actually provides better coverage and faster response times.
  • YBH Spin: Police coverage has diminished, thereby endangering residents’ safety. REALITY: This is not supported by fact, as the Village, with a static population, has had the same number of officers in the field for twenty years.
  • YBH Spin: There are no commercial businesses in Barrington Hills, and the village does not collect sales tax? REALITY: This is not supported by fact. There are a few businesses in the village, and annually $120,000 – $130,000 in sales taxes revenue is collected from them, according to Village records.
  • YBH Spin: The Village is being re-branded as embracing small lots? REALITY: This is not supported by fact. As best as we can figure, YBH is claiming this because the village website states “Large properties ranging from one to 10+ acres give residents more freedom to live how they want…” This is nothing more than a statement of fact. And, if Louis, Paula or Bob were actually familiar with the village’s official zoning map, they would know that 1-acre, 2-acre and 3-acre properties currently exist within Barrington Hills and have existed for decades (Burning Oak Trail, Barrington Bourne and Ashbury Lane to name just a few neighborhoods that have lots under 5 acres). These R-2, R-3 and R-4 districts are also referenced in the Village’s Comprehensive Plan.
  • YBH Spin: Open spaces are at risk and must be saved? REALITY: This is not supported by fact. Since the 2013 elections, to date, only 14 permits for single-family home construction have been issued for properties, all on 5 or more acres, with NO applications for subdivisions.
  • YBH Spin: FOIA expenses are out of control? REALITY: This is not supported by fact. Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) expenses are documented to be less than they were prior to 2013, and majority of the current expense can be attributed to three individuals, all of whom support this three-person slate.
  • YBH Spin: The current Administration is not protecting residents from intrusion by development in neighboring communities? REALITY: This is not supported by fact. The main issues raised by the Riding Club slate are Longmeadow Parkway (LMP) and the pending Plum Farm Development in Hoffman Estates, both of which could have been mitigated by the previous administration with proper proactive negotiation. The current administration has acted to the limits of the law in its attempts to discourage these plans. In addition to its resolution against LMP, the McLaughlin administration has opposed and spoken out against the IAA Auto Yard in East Dundee, the Speedway development in Lake Barrington in 2015, and voted against the widening of Route 62 2014-2017. And within the last month, Barrington Hills passed a 20-year border agreement with South Barrington.
  • YBH Spin: The Village Levy has not increased in twelve years? REALITY: This misrepresents the facts. According to published village financial records, the levy under the previous regime was set at $6,565,273 as set by previous administration in each of years 2011-2012-2013. The Village Board, lead by McLaughlin and trustee Colleen Konicek Hannigan LOWERED the levy in each successive year from 2014 through 2016, down to $$5,319,862. This represents a cumulative reduction in the Levy of $1,736,467.

So we ask again: are these poor hapless candidates just dazed and confused, or have these hard-core equestrians been  coached by three village residents who have strong personal reasons to support this slate of Iacovelli, Jacobsen and Zubak, (as well as Elaine Ramesh whose candidacy was the subject of our previous feature)? Their close associates include 1) the vocal large-scale commercial boarding operator who has been involved in on-going litigation with the village for eight years, 2) the chairman of a large undeveloped property located in unincorporated McHenry County, who has been fanning the flames of controversy over repeal of the flawed Anderson II horse boarding ordinance, and 3) of course, the former village president who apparently is desirous of once again imposing his failed agendas upon our village.

We believe that the ultimate goal of all four of these candidates is to reinstate ordinances to permit unbridled, large-scale commercial boarding and unimpeded related commercial equestrian activities to the Village, at the expense of the rights of the rest of us to the peaceful enjoyment of our homes.

Unbridled commercial equestrian activities may be THEIR Barrington Hills, but it’s not OUR Barrington Hills.

 

 

 

 

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SouthBarrington

Village of South Barrington

Last night at the Village Board meeting,  the Barrington Hills Board of Trustees voted to approve a 20 year extension of the intergovernmental agreement (IGA) between us and the Village of South Barrington.  This agreement will renew and replace their prior agreement and will protect South Barrington’s borders to develop, and protect land adjacent to Barrington Hills, while assuring Barrington Hills against annexation or development inside their 5 acre zoned residential village.

Negotiations began in 2016 between the two communities on this new agreement.  The IGA will now be presented to South Barrington’s Village Board for final approval.

The forging of a new agreement is not surprising, as Village Presidents Martin McLaughlin and Paula McCombie (of South Barrington), and their communities’ respective boards have worked well together before, having solving legal land issues between their communities and Sears, which could have cost their taxpayers millions, and could have bankrupted their villages in the process.

The two towns had earlier sought a tri-party border agreement including Hoffman Estates, but Hoffman Estates had declined the overtures. Nonetheless, we are suitably  impressed that the two different communities could come to a long-term agreement at the same time as  development proposals like Plum Farm in Hoffman Estates are occupying local media headlines.

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