Archive for the ‘Animal Welfare’ Category

The Forest Preserve District of Cook County cannot evict the former owners of Horizon Farm in Barrington Hills, a state appeals court ruled Tuesday, citing an appeals court order from August that essentially sent the sale of the 400-acre equestrian estate back to the legal drawing board.

The land, which features four miles of trails for hikers, bicyclists and horse riders, has occasionally been open to the public since 2015.

The August order voided the sale of the property, which leaves the district with no right to evict the former owners, the court ruled Tuesday.

Richard Kirk Cannon and Meryl Squires Cannon argue the county unlawfully acquired the property through a $14.5 million foreclosure sale with BMO Harris Bank back in 2013.

The court’s latest opinion reverses a previous circuit court decision to award the district possession of the property and puts the eviction issue on hold pending resolution of the foreclosure case.

“We hold that the reversal of the foreclosure judgment voids the sale of the property to the FPD,” the opinion says. “If the circuit court, following trial, again awards a foreclosure judgment in favor of FPD, the court will need to hold a new foreclosure sale, and the purchaser at that sale will acquire the property owner’s rights and duties under the lease with Royalty Farms (if Royalty Farms has a valid lease).”

The full text of the Daily Herald article can be accessed here.

Read Full Post »

A dog that recently fled its own coop in Barrington Hills ended up killing a neighbor’s 15 chickens while on the loose, police said.

Barrington Hills police said that as many as 20 additional chickens could be missing, injured or eaten in the incident that happened May 13 in the 500 block of West Cuba Road.

The dog’s owner, Timothy A. Mattson, 56, who lives in the 500 block of West Cuba Road, was cited for criminal damage to property under a local ordinance, said William Walsh, an officer with the Barrington Hills Police Department.

People commit criminal damage to property when they knowingly injure a domestic animal of another party without consent, under the ordinance, Walsh said.

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

Read Full Post »

AR-170529561Efforts to save a coyote pup whose six siblings were found dead in a burlap bag on Cook County Forest Preserve District property near Barrington Hills continue.  Forest district  spokeswoman Lambrini Lukidis said the May 11 incident remains under investigation by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Lukidis said Tuesday it’s not known what occurred before a man fishing at Penny Road Pond reported seeing the animals in the burlap bag, which was in the water. The pond is by East Penny and Old Sutton roads near Barrington Hills.

She said a forest preserve officer found what later was confirmed to be seven coyote puppies, but only one was still alive. The officer brought the coyote to Golf Rose Animal Hospital in Schaumburg.

You can read the entire Daily Herald article here.

Read Full Post »

Audio recordings from the December 7th special meeting of the Board of Trustees have been posted to the Village website.  To access the menu of recordings edited by agenda item, click here.

The meeting began with an announcement that the James J. Drury commercial boarding text amendment which was on the agenda for the meeting had been formally withdrawn earlier in the day, so no discussion or vote on that agenda item would take place.

Prior to public comments, the chair announced that the standard three minute limit rule on comments would be adhered to, as can be heard here.

Multiple Zoning Board of Appeals hearings had been held where residents had ample opportunities to speak as long as they wished, and it was noted that the public had been given significant latitude in their remarks, and that the Board of Trustees had reviewed the recordings and/or transcripts from those meetings.

Despite this, the first person to read public comments obviously decided that these established rules for public comment don’t apply to him.

The developer of Barrington Hills Farm had submitted written comments to the Board of Trustees, which were available to all in attendance, prior to the meeting.  Yet he chose to read them in their entirely anyway, in a self-serving speech lasting well beyond three minutes, choosing to ignore two polite requests from the chair to conclude his remarks as can be heard here.

Obviously some feel they are more important than others, but the fact is this person was not only disrespectful to the Board, but more so, to the many residents in attendance who took their personal time to listen to what the Board of Trustees had to say about the Zoning Board’s recommendation on commercial horse codes.

Seven other residents made comments, for and against, regarding the Zoning Board recommendation, and one used her time to comment on the Longmeadow Parkway Project.

Prior to the board beginning discussion on the Zoning Board recommendation, the chair asked Village Attorney Mary Dickson to weigh in on the validity of the “construct” of the form letter statements the Barrington Hills Farm Developer had been mailing to residents for months apparently in the hopes of amassing sufficient response to require a “super-majority” vote by trustees to pass an amendment nullifying the Anderson II commercial boarding code.

Counsel stated she’d seen a number of the petition statements, and her preliminary opinion was they didn’t satisfy the statuary requirements of our Village Code, and therefore, a super-majority may not be required.  The recording of this discussion can be heard here.

When discussion began, President McLaughlin invited each board member to provide their opinions on the recommendation before them before the Zoning Board.  To listen to each member’s viewpoints in order of presentation, click on their names highlighted below:

We recommend listening to the remarks made by all board members, particularly those made by President McLaughlin.  His uncharacteristically candid, off-the-cuff comments will resound with most residents, reminding them why he was elected, so please take a few minutes to listen.

When the vote was called, five board members voted to approve the Zoning Board recommendation to repeal Anderson II, and two opposed, thus making any debate over the number of votes required due to questionable petitions moot, as a super-majority was achieved.

The next Village Board meeting is scheduled for Monday December 19th.

Read Full Post »

The Village Board of Trustees voted 5-2 to approve the Zoning Board of Appeals recommendation to repeal the Anderson II Commercial Horse Boarding Code during a special meeting last night.  The dissenting votes were cast by Trustees Gohl and Harrington.

Horse boarding will now fall under the Home Occupation Ordinance as it had from 2006 to 2015 until such time as the Zoning Board prepares new codes which we imagine will be considerate of all residents’ property rights, whether they board horses or not.     

We’ll have more information on the meeting once audio recordings are released.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

In the summer of 2014 when the then Zoning Board of Appeals was considering four proposals for amending commercial horse boarding codes, we pointed out how four members of the board at that time had potential conflicts of interest (see “Conflicted”), particularly since one of the proposals was from a private riding club to which the four belonged.

However, what we were unaware of at that time is that an attorney on the Zoning Board, for which the current commercial boarding code was named, has been preparing IRS tax filings for the Riding Club of Barrington Hills since at least 2004.  In fact, just a month before the Riding Club submitted their proposal in June of 2014, this Zoning Board member prepared the 2013 IRS form 990 for the Riding Club as seen below:

(Click on image above to enlarge)

(Click on image above to enlarge)

A complete copy of the 2013 Riding Club tax return can be viewed here,  and historic returns dating back to 2004, including the most recent one filed this year, can be accessed by clicking here (once you access the site, click on the “Tax Documents” tab to view all available filed returns).

Had we been aware of this professional business relationship at the time the Zoning Board was considering adopting new horse boarding code, we would have made residents aware.  This appointed official did not volunteer this information for consideration by the board or counsel before or during the proceedings.

We believe this may be one more reason for the Board of Trustees to concur with the current Zoning Board of Appeals recommendation and vote in favor of repealing the Anderson II codes.  At least then, the current Zoning Board members can begin with a clean slate.

-The Observer

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »