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Archive for the ‘Barrington Hills Farm’ Category

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Audio recordings from the February 17th Meeting of the Roads & Bridges Committee have been posted to the Village website.  To access the main menu of recordings edited by agenda topic, click here

There were two speakers during the public comment portion of the meeting who referenced the current fight against the Longmeadow Parkway, and their remarks can be heard here

Agenda items that were discussed during the short meeting included clarification of jurisdiction of the Green Rail Bridge which carries Oak Knoll Road over Flint Creek.  It has been determined that the Village and Cuba Township each control 50% of the bridge and a memo will be prepared to reflect the agreed-upon sharing of on-going maintenance costs.

The long-discussed permit for the second driveway onto Church Road for the proposed Barrington Hills Farm/HARPS facility, located at the northeast corner of Church and Chapel has finally been issued.  Thankfully, no representatives of the farm were in attendance to sling out their usual protests, accusations and innuendos.

The meeting proceeded smoothly to a review of upcoming 2017 construction projects  within Barrington Hills which are planned by Cook and Kane Counties.  Cook County Department of Transportation confirmed that  resurfacing of Brinker Road, from Route 62 to County Line Road, and of Otis Road, from Old Sutton to Brinker Road is on the schedule, although construction may not begin until 2018.

Kane County has noted that the Longmeadow Parkway is their priority project for the year and the portion of the project in Barrington Hills from IL 62 to east of IL 25, was described as having a target letting of “late summer/fall 2017”, with construction in 2017 and 2018.

Seasonal posting of weight limit reductions on all village roads will begin on February 27th and is expected to last until the beginning of May.  No overweight truck traffic  (over ten tons) will be allowed on village maintained roads during this period in order to protect the roads from damage during the freeze/thaw cycle.

chapel_rd_flooding Lastly, Chapel Road is scheduled to be resurfaced on this year’s road program.  A review of the history of water flooding over the road from the two wetlands located on either side of Chapel took place.  Given the uncertainty of the construction schedule for the proposed HARPS facility, Chairman Brian Cecola suggested that perhaps work on Chapel Road should be delayed until the HARPS construction has concluded, in order to prevent damage from semis and other overweight construction related vehicles.  Cecola directed that the engineers should suggest an alternate road for inclusion in this year’s program, should Chapel be deferred for another year.  Fritz Gohl suggested speaking to the landowners to both the north and south of the road to see if they would be willing to perform some work on their properties to help lower the level of the water in the wetlands and to prevent, or at least reduce, some of the road flooding.

The recording of the full discussion section can be heard here

 

 

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audio_tape_revox_pr99-203Audio recordings from the January 23rd meeting of the Board of Trustees are available on the Village website.  To access the full menu of recordings, click here .

During the Finance report, Village Treasurer Peggy Hirsch reported that for 2016 the village collected more than budgeted, and also spent less than budgeted. The preliminary unaudited savings is roughly $175,000. In 2016, budgeted expenditures were about $7.877 million, with $7.7 million having actually been spent. 2017’s budget is $7.579 million, with the tax levy set at $5.314 million, reduced from the 2016 levy of $6.191 million. President McLaughlin remarked on these positive accomplishments by the Board, and noted if school districts, townships and library districts would follow suit in better fiscal management as the village has, all areas of our property tax bills would go down. That section of the recording can be heard here .

The Treasurer also reported on the Police Pension Board (PPB) and remarked that the Pension Board has finally put out a Request For Proposal (RFP) for investment services, after years of their investments managed by the current firm lagging significantly behind the established benchmarks. Six RFPs have been received and the PPB will be reviewing the firms.

Trustee Colleen Konicek Hannigan reported that the $25,000 fine for violation of the Home Occupation Ordinance at a residence of Saville Row has been paid to the Village, which is the largest fine that has been collected by Barrington Hills for such a violation.

Kenneth Garrett from B & F Code Services, who works for our Building Department, presented a summary of the status of the Village’s current building codes and standards for construction. Mr. Garrett explained how many of Barrington Hills’ codes are very outdated, with some dating back to 1979, and are woefully inaccurate and outdated, and not in compliance with contemporary state and local standards. His firm has proposed a full review of current code and adoption of a new updated building code which B&F will present at a future date. The board voted unanimously to approve B&F’s proposal.

An update on the status of the village’s opposition to Longmeadow Parkway (LMP) was presented during the Roads & Bridges report. On January 18th, President McLaughlin, Village Administrator Bob Kosin, Engineer Dan Strahan and Village Attorney Mary Dickson all met with members of the Kane County Department of Transportation (KDOT), including engineers and planners, and a representative of the Kane County State’s Attorneys’ office. During that meeting, the Village reiterated that Autumn Trail, as a private road, is not and has never been a village road, and that Barrington Hills takes exception to Kane County’s Declaration of Municipal Extension of Village Owned Road. Kane’s declaration would attempt to take over ownership of Autumn Trail from what they assert is village ownership so that KDOT may proceed with tree cutting and construction on Autumn Trail for the LMP project. McLaughlin explained that KDOT has again been informed that Barrington Hills does not accept Kane’s characterization of the way Autumn Trail’s original plat of survey was designated by the developer. It was repeated to KDOT that the Village has never maintained Autumn Trail in any way and plat designation was never accepted by the village.

According to Engineer Strahan, KDOT is still planning on letting for bids in March, but cannot proceed without the IDOT required certified right of way on Autumn Trail. Bob Kosin was directed to write a letter to the IDOT official in charge of certification to make it clear that KDOT’s declaration is not recognized by Barrington Hills.

McLaughlin, Kosin and Trustee Konicek also attended the McHenry County Council of Governments (McCOG) meeting on January 18th, and once again voted against McCOG’s proposed transportation agenda, casting a negative vote with regard to LMP and rejecting the “widening” of Route 62/Algonquin Road.

After seven minutes of discussion, Trustee Fritz Gohl piped up, saying “I’m sure this is a stupid question, but I don’t care” (which pretty much summarizes Gohl’s long tenure on the Board of Trustees). Gohl asked, “is it too late to change the designation of Autumn Trail (to a village road)?” After explanation again by the village engineer, it was painfully obvious that Gohl had no understanding (as had just been described at length) that a change in the municipal designation would essentially green-light KDOT to take over right-of-way on Autumn Trail, and could also likely set a precedent for village responsibility of all private roads, thereby making taxpayers liable for future maintenance and repaving. Gohl’s brilliant thoughts can be heard here .

Next the Board turned its attention to a Resolution to Accept a Plat of Easement for Road Purposes for the Barrington Hills Farm (BHF) parcel located at the corner of Church and Chapel Roads. Trustee Michelle Maison summed up the confusion of the board about the return of this issue when she stated, “What is this?” The Village had previously voted to accept a plat of dedication, prepared by BHF, for the southeastern portion of Church Road where two driveway entrances for their proposed HARPS facility will be located. After acceptance of the dedication by the village (Resolution 16-24) in September 2016 and approval of a second driveway cut in, the property owner changed his mind and decided that he didn’t want to dedicate of the right of way to the village after all and wanted to do an easement instead.

President McLaughlin shared his frustration about the 180 degree switch in BHF’s position, asking “How many times can we say yes?” Trustee Konicek agreed and also expressed her displeasure with the attitude of the property owner who has sent multiple accusatory letters insinuating that the Village was somehow trying stall the HARPS facility. Trustee Maison asked for further clarification of the reason for the easement, the purpose of which seem to be trying to limit what the village could possibly do to the roadway in the future. Maison asked if this meant that any village property owner who currently provides the village with a prescriptive easement could demand a plat of easement with attached conditions.

Konicek also expressed deep concern about giving preferential property rights to the owner of an unincorporated non-residential property whose driveway happens to be on a village-maintained road over the rights of actual village residents. The proposed easement attempts to dictate what the roadway speed limit could be on that section of road, what the roadway weight limits could be, and to require special advance notifications if equipment would be needed on the side of the road for emergency repairs. She was also concerned about giving special treatment to a non-taxpaying entity. Maison was troubled about setting a precedent for other property owners coming forward and making similar demands, and suggested that the board not even vote on the easement.

McLaughlin characterized the entire situation as a unnecessary political show which has now become expensive to the village.  McLaughlin suggested constructing a document which would grant the property owner a second driveway cut, but would not include binding terms upon the village. The Village Engineer explained that he had originally recommended the easement due to  the overall construction project being well beyond the scope of just a single family residence. Strahan also explained that BHF does not currently even have a building permit from McHenry County, and the Village’s approval of the second driveway is only one of six issues that BHF still has to resolve before the County could issue them a permit to proceed.

At that point in the meeting, the Board voted 4-3 to table a vote on the easement, with Croll, Gohl and Harrington voting no. Trustee Harrington asked if there would be a risk to the village if the easement were not accepted, and if the property owner could revoke the prescriptive easement that currently exists. Attorney Dickson explained that there would be no risk and, logically, no property owner would want to revoke a prescriptive easement because the owner would then have to assume all responsibility for maintenance of that section of road.

Harrington then stated that the current property owners have a plan for the land which is dramatically better than proposed Duda development, and he gets the sense that the owners do not have a very trusting relationship with the village, and that the village should have a more welcoming attitude towards them and should be more encouraging to have them come back into the village.

Konicek again expressed her offense to the repeated accusatory correspondence that the BHF property owner has sent to the village which has incorrectly insinuated that the village is intentionally stalling the HARPS facility. She also asked Harrington if he does have knowledge of plans for the 600 acre property beyond the 21 acre HARPS facility then he should share it with the rest of the Board. Harrington was conspicuously mute. President McLaughlin went on to describe several meetings that he and the village staff have had with the property owner regarding possible re-annexation, but no petition to annex has been received since their last conversation in October.

Trustee Brian Croll stated that some elements of the proposed dedication are acceptable to him, and some are not particularly those elements that are left to the discretion and approval of the property owner. He felt that those items should be removed from any new agreement.

Attorney Dickson stated that at a future meeting, the board needs to repeal the September 2016 resolution for the dedication of the plat that the property owner had subsequently revoked.

The lengthy discussion ended with a request for Dickson to construct a new dedication of easement with input from the trustees for terms that would be more amenable to the village, and then return discussion of the easement to the Roads & Bridges Committee.

The Barrington Hills Farm easement discussion begins here. (Note:  The BHF easement document was not linked in the meeting’s posted e-Packet and apparently was not made available to the Board until shortly before the meeting.)

Lastly, in the Administrative portion of the meeting, McLaughlin refuted an Algonquin Township candidate’s website which erroneously advertised an endorsement by him. McLaughlin stated that neither he nor the village is not an endorser of any specific candidate in any township race, whether in Algonquin, Cuba or Dundee Townships. He went on to say that the village absolutely supports the services we have received from those entities, but it is unfair to be listed as an endorser of a specific candidate. He urges residents to do their own homework and research, and then chose the person who would best represent them, from both an economic and a service perspective. Those comments can be heard here .

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 Audio recordings from the January 9th Special Meeting of the Roads & Bridges Committee have been posted to the Village website.  To access the main menu of recordings edited by agenda topic, click here.

 Representatives from Enbridge and their contractors attended the meeting and answered questions involving an upcoming petroleum pipeline maintenance project in Fox River Grove, which will begin the week of January 16th.   The project will take place along Algonquin River Road (between Church and Braeburn Roads) on the northern border of the village.  Expected to last several months, construction will impact local traffic and motorists will likely encounter prolonged lane closures on River Road during the height of the work. 

Directly impacted residents should receive notification about the project from Enbridge, and the Village also expects to send out community alerts as needed.  Click here to listen to the Enbridge discussion.  

The committee was also updated on the Longmeadow Parkway (LMP). Kane County has started tree removal in conjunction with the project, with the Barrington Hills portion included in the early phases. However, the Village had notified Kane County that Autumn Trail is a private road, and not a village road and had suggested that Kane’s Resolution to assume maintenance responsibility of the portion of Autumn Trail affected by LMP be revised to clarify this. Review of the approved resolution showed that no changes had been made by Kane County to reflect the inaccuracy.

The last agenda item was an unnecessarily protracted discussion of the terms for the dedication of an easement to the Village for landscape, drainage and/or utilities on the western edge of the proposed HARPS facility located at the corner of Church and Chapel Roads in unincorporated McHenry County.  Nearly 45 minutes of the meeting was devoted to the topic, with several tedious questions by Trustee Gohl.  He questioned why the Village would have to grant the landowner any permitted easement at all.  He was informed by the village engineer that this same access permit process would be required of any property owner wishing to create a roadway entry point for anything more than a typical single family residential use (e.g. a new subdivision or an accessory driveway), due to the increased impact to the road, the multiple access points, wider required access points, etc.

And once again, the father of the former village president, who is also a representative of Barrington Hills Farm, once again attempted to insinuate that the village was intentionally dragging its feet in approving the easement, thus delaying the start of construction of the entire project.  However, he did admit that it was the trust’s own decision not to proceed with the other aspects of the project.

The Board of Trustees is expected to approve the agreement at their next meeting on Monday January 23rd.  The full discussion of the easement matter can be found here.

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The Observer takes a look back at another year gone by, as we present the most frequently read news stories and editorials for 2016. Click on any title to read and revisit stories from this past year.

August 30th Zoning Board public hearing recordings published

Our most read and most commented upon story of 2016, this article summarized the August 30th Zoning Board meeting which concluded the public hearings on the latest text amendment proposal for commercial horse boarding codes.

WARNING: Beware of phantom developers!

This story discussed a fear-mongering letter that was mailed to residents throughout the  village, containing unsubstantiated claims of Barrington Hills once again being imperiled by greedy developers.

Why Anderson II must go

In October, the Observer reviewed the myriad of flaws in the Anderson II commercial boarding ordinance and explained the importance of reinstating boarding under the Home Occupation Ordinance.

There they go again

Despite the misinformation repeated at many recent meetings, archived Village Board minutes from 1960 show that village leaders then did not approve of commercial equestrian activities on residential properties, having shut down a riding school for being in violation of village code.  This feature also drew the second most comments of any story for 2016.

June Village Board Meeting Recordings Released

Our review of the Board of Trustees June meeting covered several topics, but focused primarily on the ongoing delays with the reconstruction of the Cuba Road Bridge (now known as Veteran’s Crossing Bridge).  The article highlighted the lack of proper oversight of the project by Gewalt Hamilton, as well as some confusing explanations of the situation by Village Administrator Bob Kosin.

Here we go again

As the Zoning Board of Appeals was about to begin a review of the commercial horse boarding code, the Observer dispelled a long list of oft-repeated fallacies, fictions and lies concerning equestrian activities and horse boarding in this column from July.

Candidates file for April 2017 Village Elections

The title speaks for itself in this most recent top story, highlighting the high level of resident interest in our village government.

Park District to begin charging user fees for Riding Center

The July announcement by the Park District of its intention to set up a fee structure for resident and n0n-resident users of the Riding Center drew a large audience.

Documents added to ZBA horse boarding code hearing package

In the days leading up to the August 30th ZBA meeting, readers were eager to review the 291 pages of documentation that had been submitted to the Zoning Board in the form of court documents, resident and Village official emails, affidavits, Village engineering and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency reports and form letters.

 

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Four seats on the Barrington Hills Board of Trustees are up for election in the April 4, 2017 Consolidated Elections, and the Riding Club of Barrington Hills seems to be aiming for all four now that candidates have filed with the Village Clerk on Monday.

Running for the office of President are:

  • Martin J. McLaughlin* (Independent)
  • Louis Iacovelli (Riding Club)

Those running for three Trustee positions are:

  • Colleen Konicek Hannigan* (Independent)
  • Paula Jacobsen (Riding Club)
  • Elaine M. Ramesh (Riding Club)
  • Matthew P. Vondra (Independent)
  • Robert M. Zubak (Riding Club)
  • Ralph Sesso (Independent)
  • Linda H. Cools (Independent)

Incumbent Trustees Fritz Gohl and Mike Harrington are not running for re-election in April, however Gohl will be running unopposed for trustee to the Barrington Township Board of Directors.

*Incumbent

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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.

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The Board of Trustees will be holding a special meeting tomorrow evening beginning at 6:30 at Countryside Elementary School.  The topics to be considered and voted upon are two amendments to the recently enacted commercial horse boarding codes as follows:

  • James J. Drury Text Amendment
  • Zoning Board of Appeals Text Amendment

The Zoning Board of Appeals has held a total of eight meetings on these matters since June, including lengthy public hearings.  This board voted to not recommend the Drury Amendment, however they did vote to recommend the second text amendment which would essentially repeal the LeCompte/Anderson II commercial horse boarding codes passed last year. 

We recommend all interested residents attend tomorrow night’s meeting.  A copy of the agenda can be viewed here.

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Audio recordings from the November 17th meeting of the Board of Trustees are available on the Village website.  To access the menu of recordings, click here.

The meeting began with a public hearing regarding some minor adjustments to the 2016 Annual Appropriation Ordinance related to telephone equipment leases.  No one from the public spoke, and the board later approved the changes.

Three residents made remarks during public comment encouraging the board to continue their efforts in opposing the Longmeadow Parkway Project.

The preliminary budget for 2017 was discussed during the finance reports, and expenses are once again forecasted to be down for the third year in a row.  The recording of that discussion can be heard here.

The Building and Zoning report revealed that a run-down home on Steeplechase Road that has been the subject of board discussions dating back for many years has finally been demolished.

With regard to other ZBA matters, it was explained that the reason the board was not taking up the November 9th recommendation of the Zoning Board of Appeals regarding boarding codes was that the transcript and “finding of facts” report provided by counsel had not been prepared yet.  Since that time, a special meeting of the Village Board has been scheduled for December 7th for this purpose.

The discussion then turned to an agenda topic titled, “Unincorporated & Boundary Properties Discussion,” and the subject became clear once Trustee Konicek began to provide background on why it was included.

It seems “rumors and fear-mongering” are being spread through the community regarding a developer’s plans to build a facility for HARPS in unincorporated McHenry County adjacent to Barrington Hills.  Apparently, people are being told the Village Board had taken an opposing stance towards the facility being built or that permits have been denied.

None of this is true, of course, but apparently these rumors and more stemmed from, among other communications, a recent letter sent to the Village by the developer. Konicek asked Trustee Cecola, Dan Strahan and Bob Kosin, all of whom have met with the developer, to join in the discussion to set the record straight, as can be heard here.

We’ll see about obtaining a copy of the letter, but it’s senseless how this pettiness continues to obstruct the forward momentum for our community our Village officials have strived to generate.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Trustees is scheduled for December 19th.

 

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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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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

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