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Archive for the ‘Sears’ Category

Hoffman Estates officials have scheduled a pair of meetings for local governments and the public to weigh in on a proposed tax incentive to encourage development on the north corners of the intersection of Higgins and Old Sutton roads.

The village is proposing the tax increment financing district for 24 acres at the northeast corner and 16 acres at the northwest corner, independent of any existing development plan — including the Plums Farms concept that’s been stalled for two years.

Including adjacent right of way, the proposed TIF district would cover 64 acres. Initial revenue from the TIF would pay for public utilities on the land.

A Joint Review Board made up of the local governments that would see their tax revenues affected by the TIF district is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, at Hoffman Estates village hall, 1900 Hassell Road.

Read more here.

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Intent on making vacant land west of The Arboretum of South Barrington shopping center viable for development, Hoffman Estates officials may create a tax increment financing district to pay for sewer and water utilities on the site.

The land in question is a 24-acre parcel and a 16-acre parcel at the northeast and northwest corners of Higgins and Old Sutton roads. Along with adjacent right of way, a total of 64 acres would be included.

The development partnership behind Plum Farms dropped its request for a TIF district amid controversy over its plans for dense residential development, a proposal that drew objections from school officials and others.

Read more from the Daily Herald here.

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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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Colleen Konicek-Hannigan

After experiencing some political turbulence in the transition to a new administration in 2013, government in the village of Barrington Hills is beginning to settle back into a sense of stability, if not yet absolute calm. While the village has put a decades-old lawsuit behind it, reduced expenses and revised some of its communications systems, some residents remain concerned that more needs to be done — and that some of the things that have been done have moved the village in the wrong direction.

In that climate, seven people have filed to seek three available positions on the village board.  Readers can see the entire Daily Herald article by clicking on this link.

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McLaughlin

Martin J. McLaughlin

It’s not every elected official who can state unequivocally that he delivered on every campaign promise, but Martin McLaughlin can record his accomplishments in black and white — budget, spending and tax levy all reduced; settlement of labor issues and an unbelievably long-standing civil suit with Sears; efficiencies gained through consolidation of functions and resources and a variety of achievements aimed at maintaining the town’s rural charm; and building a greater sense of community. We didn’t endorse McLaughlin in his first bid for village president, but we can’t argue with the results on the balance sheet of his first term.

The full Daily Herald Editorial Board endorsement can be read here.

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It’s said that the best gift you can give someone is your time, because you’re giving them something you can never get back.  Though many forget to recognize this often enough, two residents have provided more than their share of their valuable time for the benefit of everyone in Barrington Hills, and that’s why we are naming both of them as 2015 Shining Stars.

2015 BHO Shining Star Awards

Nearly three years ago, Colleen Konicek Hannigan and Martin McLaughlin made a choice to run for office at a time when Barrington Hills politics was highly charged.   They counted on the integrity they knew was inherent in most residents in their straightforward campaign, and now we can look back on the results of their efforts since they were elected.

Overall spending by the Village has decreased, particularly as it relates to legal fees.  This is due in no small part to their push for the appointment of new Village counsel with practical expertise in municipal and zoning laws — at nearly half the hourly rate of the former law firm.  Ending the protracted eighteen-year Sears lawsuit against our Village and South Barrington has had a significant effect as well.

For the second year in a row when they had input, the annual Village budget has decreased.  Even with these decreases, last year’s spending was nearly three quarters of a million dollars less than the 2014 budget.

The 2014 audit report best summarizes the fruit of their hard work by stating, “The reduction in spending can be attributed to reduced legal fees, and sound management practice, and reduced administrative expenses.”    

In addition to the Sears lawsuit, Colleen and Martin have also resolved other major legacy issues.  Two new labor agreements with our sworn Village police officers have been secured with the help of another accomplished new attorney which they engaged since our police unionized nearly six years ago in 2009 under the former administration.

Village road resurfacing now seems to be back on track after an all-time low of only 1.5 miles of roads maintained in 2009.  Additionally, with the assistance of Trustee Brian Cecola, new avenues for improving county and state roads in the Village should result in improved maintenance of vital thoroughfares such as Brinker Road.

And they shined a light on the controversial proposed Longmeadow Parkway project and brought it out of the shadows for residents in its path, as well as those who will be affected by it, with public meetings and updates from Kane County.

They’ve also done their share to bring our widely dispersed community together.  Three successful annual “Hills are Alive Heritage Fests”, at no cost to taxpayers, have been held since they were elected, and they have demonstrated that our residents welcome the opportunity to unite for an event to meet their neighbors, to learn about many community organizations and to share some family fun.

Despite this highly abridged summary of their contributions to their constituency thus far, it seems these two have not curtailed their other contributions to the community, nor their devotion to their full-time professional careers in their legal and financial practices.

Colleen continues to be an anchor planner, coordinator and participant in the Barrington Honor Ride and Run for wounded veterans, as well as participating in numerous other community and philanthropic events throughout the year.

Martin recently accepted the chairman’s role in BACOG and continues to serve in the Barrington Lions Club, in addition to being a father of five daughters.

We’re pleased to recognize Colleen Konicek Hannigan and Martin McLaughlin as the 2015 Shining Star award recipients.  Their time and dedication to the betterment of Barrington Hills, as well as their devotion to all in the surrounding community, cannot be overstated, nor can our appreciation for their hard work.

The Observer

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Friday FlashbackFollowing are some of the articles published by The Observer for the month of September in recent years. These articles, gathered from various publications and editorials, are noteworthy for residents in that they remind us of where we’ve been as a community

Barrington Area Conservation Trust Completes Conservation on Rare Land – 2012

The Barrington Area Conservation Trust announced that it has completed a conservation easement on a rare native gravel hill prairie in Barrington Hills, which will ensure that both the prairie ecosystem and equestrian trails on the property will be preserved in perpetuity.

This Barrington Patch story can be read here.

Why Public Safety Mergers Are Inevitable – 2013

More than ever, the local cop, firefighter or emergency responder may not be from the neighborhood.

A Better Government Association investigation finds municipal budget shortfalls are forcing a growing segment of Northern Illinois suburbs to consider what was once unthinkable: Merging basic hometown public safety operations with neighboring or regional governments, such as the county sheriff’s departments.

Read more of the Better Government Association’s recent article here.

Couple battle forest preserve over Barrington Hills estate – 2013

The owners of Horizon Farms — a 400-acre Barrington Hills estate and horse farm — have filed a federal lawsuit accusing the Forest Preserve District of Cook County of conspiring to pay $14 million for their Barrington Hills horse farm while they were fighting foreclosure.

Read more of the Daily Herald story here.

13-year lawsuit of Sears vs. Barrington Hills, South Barrington settled – 2014

A lawsuit filed in 2001 by Sears Holding Corp. against Barrington Hills and South Barrington has been settled with no money changing hands.

Sears claimed the two villages cost the company $15 million by interfering with its development plans. It filed the suit to remove land-use restrictions the villages placed on a portion of Sears’ 780-acre business park, located entirely in Hoffman Estates.

Barrington Hills and South Barrington had authority over use of the land as the result of a 1980s legal battle stemming from noise complaints at Poplar Creek Music Theater, which closed in 1994. The restrictions added height and setback limitations to the existing Hoffman Estates zoning code.

Read more from the Business Ledger here.

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