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ethics

Last Winter, the Village of Lake Barrington published the following in their seasonal newsletter:

Lake Barrington’s Ethics Commission

Did you know that the Village has an Ethics Commission? The independent commission adds to the overall transparency of our government and serves to investigate complaints alleging violations of the Ethics Chapter of the Village Code. We are proud to report that this 3-member Commission has never once had to meet regarding a violation!”

Their Municipal Code actually devotes a chapter to ethics, and the main page of their website contains a link to, “Report a Concern.”

As previously chronicled in this publication, if one searches our Village Code, keying in the word “ethics,” the result reads, “No Matches Found.”

Our Village needs an Ethics Commission.  How else could parties involved in complaints present their respective cases to determine if ethics violations did, or did not, occur? Listed below are typical practices that might arise in our Village, and in our opinion, may warrant investigation, understanding that there are no implications as to guilt or innocence of any on the list:

  • Should expensive legal battles, possibly precipitated by actions of elected and appointed Village officials, be investigated?
  • Should the hiring and retention of Village paid staff positions by elected family members be investigated?
  • Should contracts with vendors who maintain personal and professional relationships with elected Village officials and their families be investigated?
  • Should the solicitations of funds and hand selection of vendors by family members or close friends of elected Village officials, absent oversight by appointed Village committees, be investigated?

For these and other reasons, our Village needs to appoint an Ethics Commission to act as ombudsmen, when any question of potential maladministration or ethics violations is considered or occurs.

Candidates for this proposed commission could come from existing appointed Village bodies, ones whose objectivity would be unquestioned.

The perfect candidates for this roll are the incumbent members of the Board of Heath.  They are highly qualified, underutilized, and would prove to be an effective force in maintaining ethical governance of the Village of Barrington Hills.

Related:Our predominantly pusillanimous Village Board (Part 1),” “Our predominantly pusillanimous Village Board (Part 2),” “Better Government Association Commends Passage of Chicago Ethics Ordinance–Sees More to Do,” “What happened to ethics reform in Illinois government? Why watchdogs have some hope,” “Meanwhile, One Barrington Hills makes amends, extinguishes website and turns the volume down,” “Learn from your (big) mistake, Laura, Bryan, Dave and Tom,” “Agreed

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Polo Development

Naperville’s planning and zoning Commission recommended the city council approve a proposal to annex 110 acres at the Naperville Polo Club, located at the northeast corner of 119th Street and Route 59, for a 401-home subdivision.

A Naperville commission is recommending the city council approve a plan to annex land at the Naperville Polo Club and develop it into a residential subdivision.

A representative from Pulte Home Co. detailed the proposal at Wednesday’s planning and zoning commission meeting to build 252 single-family houses and 149 townhouses on the property located at the northeast corner of 119th Street and Route 59.

As part of the project, Naperville officials would need to annex the parcel that’s currently in unincorporated Will County.

Despite concerns from nearby residents about home density and added congestion on 119th Street, commissioners unanimously recommended the plan to the city council.

“I think we’ve done, at this point in time, just about everything we could possibly do to put the best possible plan for Polo Club before you,” Russell Whitaker, the attorney representing Pulte, told the commissioners.

The proposal includes 38% of open space, land donated to the Naperville Park District, two multipurpose athletic fields and a stormwater management area donated to Will County Forest Preserve District, according to Whitaker.

Pulte would build four different home styles at differing price points, including a percentage of affordable housing dedicated to households earning $100,000 to $125,000 a year. Those homes would cost $352,000 to $440,000.

Read more here.

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180 Old Sutton

By Bob Goldsborough
Chicago Tribune

A 33-acre horse farm in Barrington Hills sold in late February for $1.8 million.

Known as the TLC Farm and originally known as Bank Note Farm, the horse farm’s acreage is unusually large for a privately owned, residential property in Cook County. It has a four-bedroom, 2,921-square-foot house that was built in 1943, two barns with 20 horse stalls, paddocks, a garage, outbuildings, fenced pastures and a pond with an exercise track. One of the property’s barns is almost 100 years old and is known as a bank barn, with a ramp to a second level.

Public records show that seller Allen Cullen paid $1 million for the horse farm in 2001.

The horse farm had been on and off the market for more than six years. Cullen first placed it for sale for $3.65 million in 2015 and cut his asking price to $3.4 million the following year. He then reduced his asking price to $2.9 million, $2.7 million and $2.6 million before taking the farm off the market in 2020.

Cullen relisted the horse farm in September 2021 for $2.29 million.

The horse farm’s buyers, who bought the property through an Illinois limited liability company, asked to remain anonymous. They told Elite Street that they do not intend to subdivide the property and instead plan to continue using the property as a horse farm, restore the vintage barn to a more functional state, plant native grasses in the fields and preserve the wetlands on the property.

The horse farm had a $12,998 property tax bill in the 2020 tax year.

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Cuba Township

Snow could be piled high around the suburbs this winter, if early predictions of a snowy and wet season prove correct.

A snowier, wetter winter may be in the cards for the Chicago region, according to the latest seasonal outlook from the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center.

The forecast shows that — along with a wide swath of the Midwest, including Indiana and much of Ohio — Illinois could see more precipitation than normal, while temperatures are predicted to remain near average levels.

One of the strongest indicators of a wet Chicago winter is the earth is in its third year of the naturally occurring weather phenomenon known as La Niña, which brings cooler-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

Its counterpart, El Niño, refers to warmer tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures.

Meteorologist Matthew Rosencrans said current forecasts are “very reflective” of past La Niña winters, which typically have favored above average precipitation for the Great Lakes region.

“On a year-to-year basis, El Niño or La Niña controls about 38% of your variance, and we are in a La Niña, a decently strong one, and very likely to be in a La Niña through the winter,” he said.

However, don’t load up on salt or buy a heavy duty snowblower just yet. Because we’re still four months away from the icy season, the center’s best models for the Midwest have a hit rate of just about 20%,

More here.

Related:Farmers’ Almanac releases winter prediction for Illinois

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RCBH-logo-4-1024x562

The Barrington Hills Park District Board will hold their regular monthly meeting this evening in person and via Zoom at 7:00 PM. Topics on their agenda include:

  • Horizon Farms Update
  • Damaged John Deere 4700 Tractor
  • New Tractor/Mower Future Purchases, existing equipment update, and
  • Hills are Alive Event Preparations*

A copy of their agenda can be viewed here. Instructions for accessing the meeting remotely can be found here

*The Hills Are Alive Fall Festival returns to the Riding Center September 18th.

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Ill Migration

European immigrants poured into Illinois in the 19th century, followed by African Americans in the 20th. But Illinois’s popularity is over. Today, more Illinoisans are leaving than moving in. Behind just New Jersey and California, the state ranks 3rd for outmigration.

In an era of railroads and steamships, Chicago sat at the crossroads of the country. Its “big shoulders” nurtured farmers on the prairies to the west, helping them move their goods to the powerful east-coast cities. With plenty of factories, shipyards, and slaughterhouses, it became a destination for Irish, German, Jewish, Polish, and Italian immigrants. In fact, 1870’s Chicago was comprised of 79% foreign-born immigrants and their children.

By WWI, it caught the attention of a new wave of migration: half a million African Americans leaving the South for better lives in the mid-20th century. By the late 20th century, farms still dominated the south and west of the state. But Chicago was a booming metropolis.

The Chicago area came to represent the urban American dream. It was popularized as a haven for families, home to the Griswolds of Vacation fame, the Winslows of Family Matters, the Portokaloses with their Big Fat Greek Wedding, and the McAllisters from Home Alone. By the time Ferris Bueller took his intrepid day off, Chicago’s reputation as a melting pot was already part of the American landscape.

Illinois is no longer the place to be. It’s third in the country for outbound moves, behind just New Jersey and California. In 2022, we found there were many more searches for moves out of state than in: 42 Illinois newcomers for every 100 ex-Illini.

Read more here.

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220 White Elephant

District 220’s White Elephant hits the market for a third time

Barrington School District 220 is trying for a third time to sell its former district office, and the school board approved a resolution at a meeting last month that allows for the sale.

A resolution to initiate the sale of the property, at 310 E. James St., was approved at the July 12 meeting.

“It’s a great location (?) in the village. There is a fair bit of flexibility with that property,” David Bein, SD220 assistant superintendent of business services/chief school business official, told Pioneer Press.

The 12,413-square-foot, single tenant office building is on a 65,037-square-foot or 1.49-acre parcel of land and is described as “conveniently located near downtown Barrington with excellent access to commuter trains.”

The real estate is being sold by sealed bid at a minimum price of $545,000, according to district officials. Bids will be accepted until 11 a.m. on Sept. 6.

“There’s a state law that governs how school districts can sell properties. One of the options is through an auction process, which you can either do as a live auction or sealed bid auction. The nature of this property, we believe, lends itself to a sealed bid auction,” Bein said.

More here.

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County Line Rd

County Line and Hart Roads

Work to resurface a nearly 4½-mile section of County Line Road stretching from Haegers Bend Road in Barrington Hills to Hart Road near Barrington High School is set to begin Monday, Aug. 1, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The project, which is expected to be completed in early December, will require lane closures along County Line Road. Drivers are urged to pay close attention to work crews and obey the posted construction zone limits. The $2.6 million state project will also include constructing new ADA-compliant sidewalk ramps along County Line Road.

The project is part of the $33.2 billion Rebuild Illinois capital program, during which IDOT plans to improve more than 3,535 miles of highway and nine million square feet of bridge deck.

Note: School starts in District 220 August 22nd. .

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Snow Plow

Today’s regular monthly meeting of the Roads & Bridges Committee has been cancelled.  Ordinarily, we would not report this except the Committee has only managed to meet three (3) times in seven (7) months this year, and their last meeting was back in April.

Since the less than stellar snow plowing services Village residents endured this past Winter season still weighs on their minds, one can only hope plans are already underway to assure improved services in 2022-2023.  After all, the next Committee meeting isn’t until August 11th (tick, tick, tick…).

Related: Learn from your (big) mistake, Laura, Bryan, Dave and Tom

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Arbor

The Arboretum of South Barrington has been sold to local businessman Rick Heidner’s Heidner Properties, Inc. Heidner said he plans to upgrade the open air shopping center with new shops and expanded community events. (Daily Herald File Photo)

The Arboretum of South Barrington, the 484,000-square-foot open air shopping center at Route 59 and Higgins Road, has been sold to Hoffman Estates-based Heidner Properties, Inc.

“Heidner Properties is proud to have added The Arboretum of South Barrington to our portfolio,” Barrington Hills resident Rick Heidner, president of Heidner Properties, said in an announcement of the purchase Thursday. “The Arboretum will be our flagship property, and we are currently developing plans to enhance the already fantastic mix of dining, entertainment and retail.”

The Arboretum is home to restaurants and retailers including Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, The Hampton Social, Cooper’s Hawk Winery, DSW, LL Bean, Chico’s, Sephora and Pinstripes. The purchase was announced a day before the opening of Star Cinema Grill, a 38,000-square-foot movie theater that replaces the former iPic Theaters.

Heidner said his plans include aesthetic upgrades, new and exclusive retail options, and an expansion of community programming.

“The Heidner family loves the Halloween and Christmas holidays, and the holiday plans will be unlike anything offered in the metropolitan area,” the company’s announcement states. “They view the Arboretum as a passion, not just an investment, and (are) committed to the long-term viability of this shopping center.”

Shopping center management welcomed the acquisition Thursday.

Read more here.

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