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Sneak away from the big city for a peaceful stay at ‘Solitude Ranch,’ a vacation rental in Barrington! This ranch is one-of-a-kind, offering 3,567 square feet of space complete with 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, an upscale kitchen, sunken den, wall-to-wall windows, and even an indoor pool! When you’re not on the 6.5 acres that overlook a forest preserve and lake, horseback ride at Barrington Hills stables, explore the many local parks, tee off at Makray Course, or take a tour in Place de la Musique!

For more information, click here.

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In May of last year, the Board of Trustees directed the Plan Commission to review the Village Comprehensive Plan and make recommendations for any changes they saw fit for the Board to adopt. The last time the Comprehensive Plan was updated was 2005 and amendments were approved in 2008.

After nearly a year of work and meetings, the Plan Commission has agreed to the changes they would like seen in the Plan. A copy of their proposed 2019 Village Comprehensive Plan can be viewed and downloaded here.

A public hearing is scheduled for July 8th at 6:30 PM to allow residents to voice their comments, or feedback can be provided to the Village Clerk at clerk@vbhil.gov.

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CHICAGO – A state appeals court will allow residents and government officials in suburban Barrington Hills to resume their court fight over a now-repealed village ordinance governing horse-boarding challengers assert was enacted to benefit one particular property owner.

On Dec. 12, a three-justice panel of the Illinois First District Appellate Court State reversed part of a Cook County judge’s ruling in the long-running litigation involving the village, plaintiff James Drury III and a group of residents.

The judge had rejected a settlement agreement between Barrington Hills and Drury and also granted a motion to dismiss filed by a group of residents who intervened in the case. Drury challenged these findings.

The appellate court agreed with the rejection of the settlement agreement, but reversed the dismissal ruling.

Read more here.

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The Barrington Hills Park District recently posted Public Notice of four Park District Commissioner positions which will be up for election on April 2, 2019.  The full notice follows.

 

PUBLIC NOTICE

TO THE RESIDENTS OF THE BARRINGTON HILLS PARK DISTRICT,

COOK, LAKE AND MCHENRY COUNTIES, ILLINOIS

Elections will be held to fill the following offices at the Consolidated Election to be held April 2, 2019.

Park District Commissioner – 3 number of positions, 4 year term
1 number of positions, 2 year, unexpired term

Candidates must file their certificates of nomination with the Barrington Hills Park District designated representative.

Location: Barrington Hills Riding Center, Office/Meeting Room, 361 Bateman Road, Barrington Hills, IL 60010

Filing Period: December 10‐17, 2018 as follows:

Monday, December 10, 2018: 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM Tuesday, December 11, 2018: 8:00 AM to 12:00 Noon Wednesday, December 12, 2018: 9:00 PM to 1:00 PM Thursday, December 13, 2018: 4:00 AM to 7:00 PM Friday, December 14, 2018: 12:00 Noon to 5:00 PM

Monday, December 17, 2018: 9 AM to 5:00 PM

Petitions may be filed in person by the candidate or a representative,
or by mail. BHPD Office, c/o Kim Keper, 67 Ridge Road, Barrington, IL 60010.Nomination papers received in the mail before the first day of filing period will be returned to the sender as not filed.

Candidate document and filing information will be available on the SBE web site at http://www.elections.il.gov.

 

To view Park District meeting agendas and minutes, visit BH Park District’s website.

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Screen Shot 2018-08-26 at 11.40.37 AMGet a Five-Acre Horse Farm in Barrington Hills for Less than $500,000

The farmhouse aesthetic has flourished in the last several years, with rehabbers and homeowners trading aging finishes for reclaimed wood, undermount sinks, and flat white walls and cabinets. But why pay for imitation when you can get the real thing just a train ride away from Chicago?

In the suburban village of Barrington Hills, you can find a home that feels reminiscent of a rural retreat. The area is known for its five-acre minimum zoning mandate for residential properties, making it friendly to homeowners who want to keep horses and other types of domesticated animals (like alpacas, for instance).

So, how much will a small farmhouse and barn in Barrington Hills cost you? There are actually a number of options well under $1 million. Here’s a look at what’s on the market.

To read the full article in this month’s Chicago Magazine, 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.

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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.

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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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Tonight’s Board of Trustees meeting will be the first official meeting for the village’s new engineering firm, Trotter & Associates.  We look forward to seeing their approach to municipal engineering and we hope that taxpayers will benefit from lowered costs and fresh ideas.

GHAWhile researching future content for the Observer, we stumbled across some interesting correspondence regarding Barrington Hills Farm (BHFW LLC) and our village’s former engineering firm, Gewalt Hamilton.  What we found is shocking, but it certainly makes the Village’s decision last year to change engineering companies very wise indeed.

According to documents found on McHenry County’s website, in December 2015, BHFW’s Chairman J. R. Davis was applying to McHenry County to convert part of an existing wetland on the property into a recreational pond.  As a result, some mitigation of the wetlands was necessary.  The specifics of the mitigation and request for credits from the Wetland Restoration Fund are not important.

What is important is the engineering firm that BHFW had hired to create their Wetland Mitigation Plan was Gewalt Hamilton.  And not just Gewalt Hamilton, but Dan Strahan himself , who was Barrington Hills’ Village Engineer at the time, was personally involved in the project.

Strahan is cc’ed on the Gewalt Hamilton letter to McHenry County on behalf of BHFW and Strahan’s signature even appears with Davis’ signature on the Wetland Restoration Fund application as the Design Engineer.

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To be clear, this was a project undertaken by a private property owner in unincorporated McHenry County immediately adjacent to the Village, and Strahan and Gewalt Hamilton were hired by that individual.  All at the same time when Strahan and Gewalt Hamilton were also employed by the Village of Barrington Hills.

We find it shocking that Gewalt Hamilton and Dan Strahan did not decline employment by BHFW & Mr. Davis in 2015, seeing as the firm had been serving Barrington Hills for decades.  Gewalt Hamilton & Strahan were well aware of the history of the Davis property, and in all likelihood would be called up by the Village to consult on the property in the future. It would be bad enough for any engineer employed by Gewalt Hamilton to have taken this job, let alone Dan Strahan.

Not surprisingly, Strahan indeed did end up personally involved in discussions on behalf of the Village regarding new driveways and dedicated easements and right-of ways for the proposed HARPS facility on BHFW property in 2016 & 2017.  It certainly gives us pause to wonder about the quality of the service the village and taxpayers received on that assignment.

Did Strahan and Gewalt ever divulge to the Village of Barrington Hills that they had been previously employed by Davis?

How could Strahan and Gewalt maintain any impartiality when they had been paid by both the Village and Davis?

Are there other projects that Gewalt has worked on for Davis and BHFW?

Did Strahan and Gewalt ever divulge this conflict of interest while they were applying for retention as the Village’s engineering firm?

Right now, we have more questions than answers.  We’ll leave it to our readers to draw their own conclusions.  We think the documents speak for themselves.

Click on the following links to  view the complete PDFs of the documents BHFarm_Gewalt_Wetland_1 and BHFarm_Gewalt_Wetland_2.

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