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Cook County Zoning Board of Appeals members are expected to make a recommendation in September on whether Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District should be allowed to build a new station its leaders say is needed to improve service on the agency’s east side.

The zoning panel Wednesday concluded a two-session public hearing that featured testimony on the proposal, which calls for a 10,000-square-foot station on roughly 5 acres at 1004 S. Hough St. The land sits just outside the borders of Barrington Hills and Barrington in unincorporated Cook County.

The advisory panel is being asked to recommend a special-use permit allowing the station in a residential neighborhood zoned for single-family homes.

Barrington Hills resident Thomas McGrath, whose Hawthorne Road house is on the western border of the site, submitted a petition signed by fellow homeowners opposed to the proposal.

“Believe me, the 50 people who signed the petition who live in the exact location they want to put this fire station do not believe it will increase their happiness or their well-being, so (the district) does not meet that standard of (county) approval,” McGrath said.

Read more here.

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Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District officials want to build a new station on this unincorporated Cook County property at 1004 S. Hough St. It would be just outside Barrington and Barrington Hills village limits.

Citing concerns about increased noise and traffic, several homeowners are opposing Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District’s second attempt to build a new station.

Fire Chief James Kreher said the proposal is part of the district’s longtime desire for a third station that would improve response times for residents in Inverness and nearby areas.

However, Barrington Hills resident Thomas McGrath said about 50 village residents — representing nearly all homeowners living in the area immediately surrounding the site where the station would be built — have signed a petition against the fire district’s plan that will go before the Cook County Zoning Board of Appeals.

“The 24-hour operations with increased noise, emergency vehicle traffic and 24-hour lighting is absolutely out of place for a residential area,” said McGrath, whose Hawthorne Road house is on the western border of where the fire district wants to build.

Before construction can occur, Barrington Countryside must start with an online public hearing before the zoning panel at 10 a.m. Wednesday. The district needs a special-use permit for the firehouse because the Hough Street land is zoned for single-family homes.

Read more here.

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The Cook County Zoning Board of Appeals has posted their July 8th meeting agenda, including the following:

SPECIAL USE

SU-20-01 Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District has petitioned the Cook County Zoning Board of Appeals for a Special Use in the R-3 Single Family Residential District. The Special Use is requested to construct a Fire/EMS Station. The subject property is located within the 15th District, with the common address 1004 S. Hough Street, Lake Barrington, Illinois 60010.

The public hearing will be at 10:00 AM, and will be conducted remotely. A copy of the complete agenda can be accessed here.

Written public comments on this item will be accepted until 3:00 PM on July 6, 2020, at ZBA.Emails@cookcountyil.gov All comments will be read aloud at the meeting with three minutes allotted for each commenter, though every effort will be made to read statements in their entirety.

Related: Village posts unofficial notice of Cook County Zoning Board public hearing regarding proposed Hough Street fire station,” “Here we go again!, “New Fire Station to Help Save Lives, Protect Property

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Several area police departments say they’ve seen increases of up to 300 percent in the number of noise complaints they have received for fireworks.

As the Fourth of July holiday nears, several police departments in the north and northwest suburbs say they’ve seen increases of up to 300 percent in the number of noise complaints they have received for fireworks.

Although officials say the actual number of complaints is nowhere near what Chicago police are seeing, they say the percentage increases in fireworks complaints when compared to last year are worth noting in Buffalo Grove, Arlington Heights, Highland Park and Barrington.

Barrington Assistant Police Chief John Burke reports nine fireworks complaints since March 1, and of those complaints, seven have been since June 6. When looking at the same time period from last year, Burke said the village received only two fireworks complaints between March 1, 2019, and June 29, 2019.

He said no citations had been issued as of June 29. The citations are processed through an administrative process, he said, and fines are $250 per citation. All fireworks are confiscated by police, Burke said, and turned over to the Cook County Bomb Squad.

Read more here.

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Barrington Hills officials are exploring whether changes are needed in the village’s open burning regulations after hearing from residents on several sides of the issue.

Resident Nina Chandel recently told the village’s public safety committee the ordinance for residential property needs a definition for habitat restoration open burning. She also suggested a modification for approved habitat restoration open burning days to be available based on wind speed and the air quality index.

Chandel said the current burning policy is hindering her ability to restore 4 acres of forest to natural health near her home.

“I now have masses of invasive brush on my residential property that cannot be removed or chipped or mulched,” Chandel said. “And it cannot reasonably be burned within the three-hour, five-foot single location limits that are in the current ordinance. Right now, this massive invasive brush presents health and safety hazards for the forest plants and wildlife and for us.”

Resident Justin Pawlik questioned Barrington Hills’ 10 p.m. cutoff time for a fire during the village board’s public safety committee last Thursday.

Read more here.

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The Village posted the following notice today on their website:

Zoning Board of Appeals of Cook County
Notice of Public Hearing*

A special use petition is the subject of a public hearing to be held on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, at 10:00 AM.  Due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, the ZBA will be holding virtual meetings until further notice.  Attendance at this meeting is required by remote means only.

PREMISES AFFECTED: 1004 S. Hough Street, Barrington, IL 60010

SUBJECT: Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District has petitioned the Cook County Zoning Board of Appeals for a Special Use in the R-3 Single Family Residential District.  The Special Use is required to construct a Fire/EMS Station.

Permanent Index Number: 01-01-308-039 & 01-01-308-040

In compliance with President Preckwinkle’s Executive Orders 2020-11, attendance at this meeting will be by remote means only.  Written public comments on this item will be accepted until 3:00 PM on July 6, 2020, at ZBA.Emails@cookcountyil.gov All comments will be read aloud at the meeting with three minutes allotted for each commenter, though every effort will be made to read statements in their entirety.

Copies of the Agenda for the July 8, 2020 ZBA Public Hearing and items to be considered at this meeting will be made available electronically on the Cook County website on June 29, 2020, at https://www.cookcountyil.gov/agency/zoning-board-appeals-0.

Note: County Administrative Building, 69 W. Washington St, Chicago IL 60602 will be open to the public starting July 6, 2020, under COVID-19 Guidelines consistent with the State’s “Restore Illinois Plan.”

*This is not the official notice.  For the exact information, please refer to Cook County’s ZBA website or call the ZBA directly at 312-603-5040.

Related: Here we go again!”, “New Fire Station to Help Save Lives, Protect Property

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The Public Safety Committee meets this afternoon at 4:30 at Village Hall. Topics on the agenda include:

  • Open Burning Ordinance 4-2-3 (B)4
  • Target Shooting, Rules and Regulations 8-2-5(C): Weapons

A copy of their agenda, including instructions on participating remotely, can be viewed and downloaded here.

Related: Yup, they’re going there. “Open Burning Ordinance” on tonight’s BOT agenda.

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A 3-alarm fire severely damaged a home in the 1-100 block of Steeplechase Road in Barrington Hills early Sunday morning | Photo: Benjamin Lundquist.

No injuries were reported, but residents were displaced after fire destroyed a home early Sunday morning in Barrington Hills.

Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District called to the 5,000-square-foot, five-bedroom home in the 0-100 block of Steeplechase Road at about 4:01 a.m. arrived less than five minutes later to find a fully involved fire, with most of the blaze concentrated in the rear of the house, officials said.

Firefighters established command at the front of the house and fought the fire from outside, since it was fully involved. The area has no fire hydrants, so 20 tenders trucks supplied water to the scene.

In all, firefighters from 33 suburban departments assisted the Barrington Countryside district with the massive fire.

Read more 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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The Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District is planning to build a third fire station at 1004 South Hough Street

The Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District (BCFPD) is once again trying to acquire a property to build a third Fire/EMS station in a location that makes no sense whatsoever.

A little over a year ago, BCFPD tried to locate a Fire/EMS Station between the Barrington Middle School, Prairie Campus and the Barrington Early Learning Center on Dundee Road (Rt. 68) just east of Barrington Road. Thankfully that location was rejected after Barrington School District 220 and many residential neighbors spent considerable time and expense convincing Cook County Zoning that the location was completely inappropriate.

Now having been rejected at the Dundee Road location, the BCFPD is trying yet again to locate a Fire/EMS Station in an inappropriate location – 1004 South Hough Street (a map of the location can be viewed here). The property they have under contract is in unincorporated Cook County, zoned R-3, single family residential. The property is completely surrounded by single family homes. What BCFPD is attempting to do is not permitted under the property’s current zoning; in order to build in this residential neighborhood, the BCFPD must obtain a zoning variation from Cook County.

Zoning laws exist to protect all of us from changes like these. Like you, I live in this community because of its respect for peace and quiet, through our zoning laws and our shared respect for those laws.

Along with ALL of my neighbors, I am opposed to locating a fire station directly next to our homes. The 24 hour operations with increased noise, emergency vehicle traffic and 24 hour lighting is absolutely out of place for a residential area.

As taxpayers, we should question the need for adding a third station. Spending taxpayer funds does not seem to be an issue for the BCFPD Trustees. BCFPD says they respond to approximately five calls per day which they currently handle from two locations. That’s between two and three calls a day per station. And they need a third station?

I respect and honor our dedicated first responders, so if they truly need another station, let’s take them at their word. However, in their application to the Cook County Zoning Board, they reference the need for this third station location primarily to enable them to provide coverage for Inverness, South Barrington and Willow Creek Church, plus certain unincorporated areas of Cook County within their coverage area. There are eight Fire Stations within a five mile radius of this proposed location.

There are acres upon acres of vacant land without homes immediately adjacent much closer to BCFPD’s stated primary coverage areas along Barrington Road between Dundee Road and the I-94 tollway. Why would BCFPD choose yet another inappropriate location when there are many, many possible locations south along Barrington road, if needed? Locations that could easily work and would not be disruptive to families who purchased their homes in a residentially zoned area with the expectation they would be able to enjoy a peaceful, residential setting to live and raise their families.

Sincerely,

Tom McGrath

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