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Archive for the ‘Intergovernmental agreements (IGA)’ Category

Without consensus on safety, liquefied natural gas needs another look

The Daily Herald and leaders of several of our suburbs were among those arguing years ago that crude oil shipments by train should be restricted to newer, stronger tank cars that are more likely to withstand a derailment or crash without rupturing, exploding and burning.

That viewpoint largely prevailed, with new requirements unveiled in 2015 that mitigate the risk.

But now the federal government is upping the ante, exposing towns along freight rail lines to potential new danger with the judgment that now that tank cars are safer, they can be used to move material that is more volatile.

The U.S. Department of Transportation over the summer authorized railroads to haul liquefied natural gas around the country, even in the face of the National Transportation Safety Board questioning whether doing so would be safe.

Natural gas is a chameleon, turning liquid at -260 degrees and taking up 1/600th of the space it requires as a gas, making it cheaper to transport. If the gas gets overheated and the tank ruptures, such as following a derailment or crash, it can explode violently into a fireball that will keep burning until the fuel is gone.

Read on here.

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Grayslake Fire Protection District Chief John Christian on the scene of a major call in 2015. (Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer, 2015)

Barrington officials announced Thursday the hire of John Christian as the village’s new fire chief, effective next month.

Christian comes to Barrington from the Grayslake Fire Protection District, where he’s been chief since 2009. He replaces Jim Arie, who retired as Barrington’s fire chief in March after leading the department since 2003.

Christian started 33 years ago at the Grayslake fire district, which covers about 25 square miles in Grayslake, Third Lake, Round Lake Park, Round Lake Beach and unincorporated areas of Lake County. He has experience in heading a fire department that sometimes must navigate train blockages to handle emergency calls — a longtime issue in Barrington.

Read more here.

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Cook County Commissioner Kevin B. Morrison

Cook County Commissioner Kevin B. Morrison and State Rep. Michelle Mussman will host a COVID-19 virtual town hall at noon Friday to discuss the county and state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resources available to residents and businesses.

The meeting will be live streamed on their Facebook pages and abit.ly/2VppIC1. Residents can submit questions beforehand to District15@cookcountyil.gov.

Morrison’s 15th District includes Barrington Township, and his contact information can be found here. He is a voting member of the Forest Preserve District Board which oversees Crabtree Nature Center, Horizon Farm and Spring Lake preserves.

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Barrington Unit District 220’s lawsuit against Hoffman Estates and the developers of the Plum Farms proposal for the northwest corner of routes 59 and 72 was dismissed this week . (Click on image to enlarge)

Barrington Unit District 220’s lawsuit against Hoffman Estates and the developers of the stalled

Barrington Unit District 220’s lawsuit against Hoffman Estates and the developers of the Plum Farms proposal for the northwest corner of routes 59 and 72 was dismissed this week.

proposal at the northwest corner of routes 59 and 72 has been dismissed by a Cook County circuit court judge.

But the question of how much that lawsuit had to do with the residential and commercial project’s idleness for the past 2½ years has yet to be answered.

Members of the Plum Farms development partnership did not respond to a request for comment, and Hoffman Estates officials said they haven’t heard from them, either, since the lawsuit’s dismissal on Monday.

As proposed, Plum Farms would include single-family homes on 145 acres previously disconnected from Barrington Hills. The remainder of the land would combine multifamily housing and commercial development.

Hoffman Estates’ development agreement limits Plum Farms to 1,250 dwelling units of various types, but the most recent plan submitted by the developer calls for only 1,035.

Read more from the Daily Herald 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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A private foundation supporting Barrington Area Unit District 220 has agreed to help fund a proposed outdoor education initiative and expansion of an entrepreneurship program into the middle schools.

Click on image to enlarge

Mary Dale, executive director of the Barrington 220 Foundation, said the nonprofit will provide a to-be-determined donation for the district’s proposed outdoor science laboratory off Hart Road. The lab would be on part of an undeveloped 67 acres the district owns, and officials say it could cost up to $750,000 to build.

Dale said the foundation also will donate $27,000 to District 220 for creation of the business incubator for eighth-graders at the two middle schools, allowing those students to have a “bridge” between similar programs in fifth grade and high school.

She said the two major projects were recommended for the funding after a vetting process by a committee that included residents and foundation officials. Foundation board trustees gave the final approval, with the selections revealed at a recent soiree at Barrington’s White House.

Read more here.

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Barrington Area Unit District 220 board members have given an early thumbs-up to an idea of creating an outdoor classroom.

Under the tentative proposal, the outdoor learning space would be in a conservation area just west of Hart Road across from Barrington High School’s stadium. The project would be on a portion of undeveloped land that District 220 owns west of Hart.

District 220’s assistant superintendent for teaching and learning, John Bruesch, said during a recent presentation the goal is to launch the outdoor laboratory in the 2021-22 academic year. He said the project could cost up to $750,000, with public and private funding sources covering the tab.

At a meeting this week, the District 220 board indicated a willingness to set aside $50,000 in the current summer projects budget for a surveyor and consultant to define the scope of what could be done on the Hart Road property. Formal approval is needed for the proposed expenditure.

Read more 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.

YBH_issues

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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VBH__LogoThe Village Board will meet on tonight September 25th at 6:30 PM. The agenda and e-Packet can be found here.

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VBH__LogoThe Village Board will meet on Monday August 28th at 6:30 PM. The agenda can be viewed here and the e-Packet can be found here.

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