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PlumFarmAerial Hoffman Estates village board members Monday unanimously approved a development agreement and rezoning for 185 acres at the northwest corner of routes 59 and 72 for the often controversial Plum Farms residential and commercial subdivision.

The biggest revision to the agreement before its approval was the village’s requirement of a minimum 5.5-acre school site donation.

Barrington Unit District 220 board President Brian Battle said his district and Community Unit District 300 both believe that unless that site happened to be next to a park, it likely wouldn’t be enough.

Nevertheless, he saw it as an improvement.

“For the village to dictate the minimum size is better than nothing,” Battle said. “We’d like to see that number boosted a little. … We’re still concerned about the density (of the development) and what it does to our taxpayers.”

Battle said the developers told him they would try to address the school districts’ concerns in their final plans. But he told village board members the two districts would wish to be involved in the review of those plans as early as possible.

To read the full article in the Daily Herald, 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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barrington220

School District 220 issued the following press release this afternoon concerning the proposed TIF for the Plum Farm Development:

“The Board of Education has new developments to share regarding the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District in the Village of Hoffman Estates known as Plum Farms. The controversial development plan called for more than 1,000 residential units within Barrington 220 and District 300’s boundaries, and would have a $120 million adverse impact on our district.

On April 5, the developer informed the Village of Hoffman Estates that it has withdrawn its request for approval of establishment of a TIF district for the Plum Farms development that has been the subject of recent meetings and hearings.

A communication from the Village of Hoffman Estates to Barrington 220 School District and School District 300 states in part, “The Owners request that the Village of Hoffman Estates cease any consideration of, and any further actions regarding, the proposed ‘Route 72 and Route 59 Tax Increment Financing Redevelopment Plan and Project.'”

This means that all future meetings to consider the approval of a TIF district will be canceled, including the Joint Review Board meeting scheduled for April 18 and the TIF hearing, tentatively scheduled for May 1, 2017.

The owners of the property at Routes 59 and 72 will continue to pursue annexation of the land into the Village of Hoffman Estates, with a re-zoning based on a new classification for the Village of Hoffman Estates, and future development of the property.

The public hearing to consider the annexation and zoning changes is tentatively scheduled for April 17, 2017 prior to the regular meeting of the Village Trustees.

Districts 220 and 300 will continue to work with the Village of Hoffman Estates and the landowners of the property at Routes 59 and 72 to promote a development that creates a responsible impact on our schools and taxpayers. We remain concerned about the high residential density being considered for this property.

We will communicate any new information to you as it becomes available. Thank you for your continued support during this issue. “

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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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 PlumFarmAerialThe public hearing scheduled for Monday, April 3, on a controversial tax-increment financing (TIF) district for a proposed 184-acre development at routes 59 and 72 in western Hoffman Estates will be continued at that time to the village board meeting of Monday, May 1.

The next meeting of the joint review board of the taxing bodies potentially affected by such a TIF district is already scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 18, at Hoffman Estates village hall, 1900 Hassell Road.

A public hearing on the village’s potential annexation of the land is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, April 17, but also may be continued to a later date.

To read the report in the Daily Herald, click here.

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Daily Herald Editorial Board:  The acronym TIF refers to a conversation-stopping tax strategy that is not easy to understand but can have direct consequences for communities, schools, parks, libraries and taxpayers. In the best of circumstances, it can help a community encourage development in struggling parts of town. In the worst, it can suck resources away from the agencies and institutions people count on.

A proposed 184-acre TIF district in western Hoffman Estates qualifies as the latter, and adds insult to injury by potentially increasing demands on local resources, schools in particular, while simultaneously taking resources away from them.

So, it’s not hard to understand why nearly every affected agency took a stand this week in opposition to providing the incentive to a proposed residential and commercial development near routes 72 and 59. In a pair of votes, members of a joint review board overwhelmingly declared the project ineligible for a TIF designation on land the Hoffman Estates village board is considering annexing.

Most of the review board members had selfish reasons to be wary of the proposal. For up to the next 23 years, it would divert tax money away from them — including, among others, Barrington Unit District 220, Community Unit District 300, the Barrington Area Library, Harper College, Elgin Community College, Barrington Township and the Barrington Hills Park District.

All in the interest of a project that — if successful — would bring businesses and residents to an area already bustling with restaurants, grocers and department stores.

The complete Daily Herald editorial can be read here.

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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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The vast majority of taxing bodies potentially affected by a proposed $21 million tax refund for a development in western Hoffman Estates dislike the idea so much they rejected it twice Tuesday.  Members of the joint review board for the tax increment financing district requested by the developer for a 184-acre site at routes 59 and 72 first voted 7-1 against approving the eligibility for such an incentive, then voted 7-1 to actively reject its eligibility.

But even with two such votes against it, the proposal legally receives a 30-day period for the developer to adapt the request before the joint review board meets again at 1:30 p.m. April 18 at Hoffman Estates village hall.  And if the ultimate vote is still against the TIF district, the Hoffman Estates village board can still approve it with a supermajority.

The full text of the Daily Herald can be read here.

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PlumFarmAerial Momentum may be shifting against the proposed Plum Farms mixed use development at the northwest corner of Higgins and Route 59 after today’s Village of Hoffman Estates meeting of the Joint Review Board (JRB). The JRB, composed of representatives of taxing bodies and parties of standing, is tasked with hearing and determining if a tax increment financing district (TIF) should be established for the property. If approved, it could mean $22.5 million of incentives for the developers.

The JRB does not have any planning or zoning authority and is limited in scope to making a decision on the TIF qualifications only. JRB members present at the meeting represented Elgin Community College, Barrington Township, School District 220, School District 300, with Cook County attending via telephone.

Also present were Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin, South Barrington President Paula McCombie and Hoffman Estates Mayor Bill McLeod. In addition, a number of board members from D220, D300, South Barrington, Barrington Hills and Hoffman Estates attended, as did 50+ members of the public. Of note, McLaughlin along McCombie were not invited to the table to be seated nor were they allowed to make any statements, as neither village has legal standing as previously noted due to the disconnection of the land in 2010.

The developer’s attorney made a presentation describing why they believe the project fits the conditions to qualify as a TIF. Attorneys for D200 and D300 disagreed and said that it does not apply by not fulfilling the criteria established with regard to agricultural land, vacant land and chronic flooding.

The definition of vacant land for a TIF is land that has not been used for commercial or agricultural purposes in prior years, or land divided into 3 or more parcels that could be deemed as subdivided.

Both sides differed on if the land had been divided, over the amount of agricultural usage and if there is chronic flooding of the property. The issue of a gas pipeline traversing the property which would restrict further residential development was also raised.

The property needs to be subdivided into three lots if they want their application to be strengthened, but that hasn’t happened yet. The subdivision application was submitted in October, but no decision has been made yet, and this has to occur before TIF can be considered.

The discussion dissolved into a “he said, she said” exchange.  And, obviously these matters will likely be taken up in court, as usual, by overpaid attorneys, with the taxpayers on the hook no matter the eventual outcome.

But President McLaughlin was given the opportunity to speak on behalf of Barrington Hills and entered his opposition based upon the offer from Hoffman Estates of $22.5 million, as did South Barrington’s McCombie. Trustee Fritz Gohl and candidate Bob Zubak attended but chose not to speak.  A representative of a D220 taxpayers’ group also spoke.

The Joint Review Board voted on two different motions on the TIF, with the bottom line being that the majority of the board disapproved of the TIF.

There will be no business on this matter until 30 days pass. The next meeting is scheduled for April 18th.

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