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The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has abandoned plans to build a columbarium cemetery – to house cremated remains of veterans – in South Barrington and is seeking a location elsewhere, according to village and VA officials.

“The VA columbarium never came to fruition here and we tried to find the VA another spot in town, but we have no evidence that they were interested in exploring our suggestions,” said South Barrington mayor Paula McCombie. “We received an email from them on Sept. 10 stating that the property was no longer available and that they were concluding any further evaluation and actions for the Freeman Road site.”

Les’ A. Melnyk, a spokesman for the National Cemetery Association for the Department of Veterans Affairs, confirmed the VA will not be developing the site at 10 Freeman Road, in the northwest suburban town, since someone else purchased the property the VA had been eyeing.

In Nov. 2019, more than 100 people crowded into the South Barrington Village Hall for a town hall meeting to discuss the proposed columbarium that would have housed the cremated remains of about 5,000 veterans on a 15-acre parcel in South Barrington.

Read more here.

Related:National veterans cemetery in South Barrington: How about a different spot in town, leaders say

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170 Old Sutton Road

The Zoning Board of Appeals meets this evening at 6:30 PM. Items on their agenda include,

  • Setback Variation Application: 170 Old Sutton Road
  • Text Amendment to Section 5-5-3 Special Uses to include, in the list of Special Uses, “Non-Commercial Event Facility.
  • Zoning Map – 2021

A copy of the agenda, including instructions on remotely accessing the meeting, can be viewed and downloaded here.

Related: “ZBA Application for Variance public hearing February 16th

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Posted previously to the VBH website:

“President Martin McLaughlin was an invited panelist at the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce’s Virtual Economic Summit on Wednesday, February 3, 2021.

Below are some points he shared:

  • The Village of Barrington Hills (the Village) has seen an uptick in interest and purchases in our real estate. Buyers are looking for safety and stability which our Village has historically and steadfastly provided. The sight of deer, cranes and wildlife is now preferential and desirable to city living. 
  •  Village offices have remained open through this pandemic without incident. Many thanks to our Village and Police Department staff who provided, and continue to provide, uninterrupted services while observing the CDC’s guidelines.
  • The Village has instituted administrative hearings which are a venue for timely adjudication for activity that arises from properties operating in violation of the Village’s home occupation or business zoning, or other issues that ignore Village code. The expedited legal review process has provided for reduced legal expenses for both violators and the Village.
  • The Village and residents who visited throughout the day safely enjoyed The Hills Are Alive Fall Festival—again, without incident and having instituted the CDC’s guidelines. 
  • The Village of Barrington Hills’ Board of Trustees has, once again, lowered the levy and President McLaughlin asked neighboring municipalities and local taxing bodies to follow the Village’s lead in this regard.
  • The Consolidated General Election is Tuesday, April 6, 2021. This is an important election. Various local governing bodies have more than one seat up for election, and residents are reminded their vote can have a substantial change.”

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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 in 2020. Click on any title to read and revisit stories from this past year.

Racism allegations follow as plan to move 25 kids into Barrington Hills home stalls

Although the leader of an organization helping disadvantaged minority youths contends race is a factor in his delayed plan to move into a Barrington Hills home with 25 children of color, village officials say the zoning code is the only issue.

This June 30 article received 11 comments, and 12 Facebook shares.

Time to stop giving 220’s Harris passes

A week ago today hundreds of parents and students in Barrington Area Unit District 220 gathered at a rally in Citizens Park to ask the district to allow in-person schooling to resume. Some spoke while others displayed signs such as, “Open our schools for in-person learning,” or “Face 2 Face learning is essential” (seeI am asking for a choice’: Barrington 220 parents, students rally for in-person learning” and “Hundreds turn out for Barrington rally calling for end to remote learning, restart of student sports”).

No one commented on this September 21 editorial, but a record 86 people shared it on Facebook.

220 won’t consider COVID-19 testing at this time (as opposed to New Trier, thus our response

Wednesday District 220 emailed the following notice to the community:

Over the past couple of weeks, the district has been looking at the possibility of using COVID-19 testing as one additional component of several virus mitigation efforts. At the Dec. 1 Board meeting, the Board decided it would not consider using COVID-19 testing at this time due to high costs and the fact that it would not be a full proof [sic] measure in preventing the spread of the virus.  Click here to watch the Board’s full discussion about COVID-19 testing.

New Trier Township High School District 203 did not hesitate at all when in October they announced, “…they will pay up to $1.3 million to conduct COVID-19 saliva screenings for students and staff.” As a result of their proactive measures, some students are back in classroom today, December 4.

There were 2 comments on this December 2 editorial, and 3 shares on Facebook.

Homicide investigation on Old Sutton Rd just south of Otis Rd, Barrington Hills

Barrington Hills police and firefighter/paramedics from Barrington -Countryside FPD responded about 3:34 a.m. Saturday March 7, 2020 to a report that multiple people were shot at or near a home in the block of 300 Old Sutton Road. Police and firefighter/paramedics received a report that there were multiple gunshot victims. At least two victim were transported to a local hospital. At least one victim was possibly dead at the scene.

We got one comment to this March 7 story, but 35 shares on Facebook.

Fact checking

On Monday night, CBS Chicago reported a story that included audio and text stating the following:

“Over 20 acres of tree-lined property nestled in affluent Barrington Hills feature tennis courts and a sprawling home purchased by Terrance Wallace, the InZone Project founder.” (InZone Project Founder Says He’s Been Hit With Red Tape In Efforts To Bring Black And Brown Boys From Chicago To Live In Barrington Hills Mansion.)

There is no recorded public record of a recent sale of the property on 541 Merri Oaks Road. Public records do indicate that the property is currently owned by a Trust and has been under the ownership of the Trust or related parties since 2002.

There were no comments or shares on this July 1 article..

NEW! Solitude Ranch w/Indoor Pool, Event Friendly! $599 per night

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!

There were 3 comments made about this March 7 ad, but no shares

Barrington District 220 reverses course, switches to online classes only

Reversing course on its plan to let parents choose between in-person and online classes, Barrington Area Unit School District 220 announced Wednesday that it would offer only remote learning when school opens next month.

There was one Facebook share, and 9 comments to this July 29 article (most of which objected to our choice of graphic used).

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The recordings from October 26th Board of Trustees meeting have been released. Click here to access the link from the Village website.

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The Village Board of Trustees will be holding their monthly meeting this evening at 6:30 PM. Some of the topics for discussion and/or vote include:

  • An Ordinance Granting an Amendment to the Existing Special Use Permit for an Expansion of the Parking Lot at 160 Hawthorne Road
  • An Ordinance Approving a Map Amendment Rezoning the Property Located at 32W 393 Algonquin Road from R1 Single Family Residence District to B-3 General Business District
  • Resolution Authorizing the Village’s Execution of an Intergovernmental Agreement and Subrecipient Agreement with the County of Kane for Coronavirus Relief Funds

A copy of the agenda can be viewed here. Those wishing to try to listing in on the meeting can phone 508-924-1464.

Related:Mosque replica planned for 160 Hawthorne Road?andKane County sending $27.5 million in federal relief to communities

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A new federal rule allows liquefied natural gas to be transported by train across the U.S., sparking concerns from Barrington and other suburbs.

A new player, liquefied natural gas, has joined the list of hazardous materials cruising through Illinois by train — a move the federal government says is safe but raises fears of out-of-control fires and explosions for some suburbs.

This summer, the U.S. Department of Transportation authorized railroads to haul liquefied natural gas (LNG) across the country.

Prior to approval, more than 460 entities commented — mostly critically — on the plan, including Barrington, which is crisscrossed by the Union Pacific and Canadian National railroads.

The potential for a catastrophe “is quite acute,” village officials stated. “An uncontrolled LNG release involving fire stemming from a derailment scenario must burn itself out as there is no practical way to extinguish it.”

Federal officials are confident that upgraded DOT-113 tank cars with double shells and thick carbon steel can safely contain any spills.

New requirements, such as remote monitoring of tank car pressure, will “provide for the safe transportation of LNG by rail to more parts of the country where this energy source is needed,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao stated.

Read on here.

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Our Board of Trustees holds their monthly meeting this evening at 6:30 PM. Some of the topics for discussion and/or vote include:

  • [Vote] A Resolution Authorizing Execution of an Intergovernmental Agreement Amongthe Villages of Bartlett, Hoffman Estates, Barrington Hills, Barrington, Deer Park, Lake Zurich, Hawthorn Woods, Mundelein, Vernon Hills, Mettawa, Green Oaks and the Cityof North Chicago for Engineering Work to Complete the Recertification of a QuietCorridor Along the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railroad Res 20 –
  • [Vote] An Ordinance Granting an Amendment to the Existing Special Use Permit for anExpansion of the Parking Lot at 160 Hawthorne Road Ordinance 20 –
  • [Vote] An Ordinance Approving a Map Amendment Rezoning the Property Located at32W 393 Algonquin Road from R1 Single Family Residence District to B-3 GeneralBusiness District Ordinance 20 –
  • [Vote] A Resolution Authorizing the Execution of a Retail Sales Agreement with AVISystems, Inc. for Audio Streaming Equipment and Software for Village MeetingsResolution 20 –

A copy of their agenda can be viewed and downloaded here. To (try to) listen to the meeting, dial 508-924-1464.

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Audio recordings of Tuesday evenings Board of Trustees meeting have been posted to the Village website. To access the recordings, click here.

Related: Another Roadblock For InZone Project Founder Terrance Wallace, Who Plans To Bring Boys From Violent Neighborhoods To Barrington Hills Mansion

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Algonquin Village President John Schmitt has died.

Algonquin Trustee Debby Sosine called him a fabulous village president and said on Saturday that she was very sad to confirm the news of his death.

“He was such a great leader and we are just sorely going to miss him,” Sosine said. “He was a personal friend of mine and other board members. It’s just a shock.”

A memory that Sosine says will stick with her was when she and Schmitt were able to drive a stretch of road that recently opened along Longmeadow Parkway to Route 31.

Read more here.

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