Archive for the ‘Board of Health’ Category

The Board of Trustees will hold their monthly meeting this evening at 6:30 PM.  A copy of the agenda can be viewed here.

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The Board of Trustees will hold their regular monthly meeting this evening at 6:30 PM.  A copy of the agenda can be viewed here.

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The Village Board of Trustees meets Monday evening at 6:30 PM.  A copy of the agenda can be viewed here.

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The Village has released audio recordings from the August 15th Zoning Board of Appeals continued public hearing regarding proposed amendments to commercial horse boarding codes.  The menu of edited recordings by agenda topic can be accessed here.

Before the hearing began, Dr. Gwynne Johnston, chair of the Board of Health, made a brief presentation on the board’s positions on horse boarding and well water quality.  A copy of his presentation can be read here, or the audio recording can be heard here.

The Board of Health has begun a long-term study of water samples from nine wells throughout the Village, beginning with baseline sampling for long-term tracking of any changes to water quality, due to any number of factors, including horse keeping and boarding.

While their focus has been on “sub-surface” water, however, Gewalt Hamilton has been studying the Flint and Spring Creek waterways in Barrington Hills, and their February 2016 report to Bob Kosin, Village Administrator, indicated water testing levels above acceptable limits for fecal coliform, phosphorus, etc., as depicted below:GH Creek Water Testing

A copy of the complete Gewalt Hamilton surface water testing report can be viewed here.  We suggest that the Board of Health participate in this ongoing study as well, since it’s unclear what Mr. Kosin does with these reports.

The next person to speak was John Blackburn of Blackburn Architects, the firm that designed the proposed HARPS facility in unincorporated McHenry County for the developers of Barrington Hills Farm.  The chair allowed him to speak next since he was purportedly scheduled to return to Washington, D.C. (However, he remained in attendance for the entire meeting.)

Blackburn provided a summary of his experience and his philosophies for designing equestrian facilities which must include the health needs of the horse, the needs of the owner and must meet the demands of the site where the facility is to be built.

At no point did he mention consideration of surrounding properties.  Similarly, his design of the HARPS facility calls for parking stalls for ten horse trailers near a northern border of the development  — closest to the neighboring Barrington Hills residential properties, as seen here.

When Blackburn concluded his remarks, a ZBA member asked his opinion on how much space is needed for horses in order to have a “successful horse facility?”  Blackburn responded, “Generally the rule of thumb is an acre per horse,” but stressing that each property is different.  That exchange can be heard here.

Later on, Blackburn was asked the same question, but with more qualifications such as if the horse is fed grain and other nutrients such that they aren’t reliant on grazing on grasses for sustenance, would his one acre rule of thumb apply, and he answered with a qualified “yes” as can be heard here.

When the public hearing was opened, the first person to speak was the chairman of Barrington Hills Farm.  During his testimony, he stated, “Barrington Hills Farm invested significant money and effort based on the village’s identity as an equestrian community and the current ordinances in the village code.”

By “current ordinances,” we assume he referred to the LeCompte/Anderson code.

He went on to state, “Both the village’s longstanding image as an equestrian community and Barrington Hills Farm’s purpose in acquiring land in Barrington Hills will be devastated by the proposed amendment.” Both statements can be heard here.

When a board member asked him when the Barrington Hills Farm property was purchased, he replied, “I don’t have an exact date.”  When asked if it was prior to 2015, he responded, “Oh, hell, I don’t know.”  The recording of this exchange can be heard here.

The McHenry County records show most, if not all, of the property titles that make up Barrington Hills Farm were transferred on September 29th and 30th of 2014.  One can assume negotiations and closure of the sale of those properties occurred at least a month or more prior to those dates.

The LeCompte/Anderson horse boarding code was not approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals until early December of 2014, and it was not passed by the Board of Trustees until February of 2015.  As a matter of fact, in early September of 2014, the Zoning Board was still considering four separate boarding text amendments before them from four residents according to records.

And, as we’ve previously written, most of the 602 acre Barrington Hills Farm property is in unincorporated McHenry County, and Barrington Hills codes do not apply to the present or future development plans of his organization.

The balance of the nearly two and a half hour meeting revealed nothing new to report.  It was too much more of “he said, she said” banter that’s really unproductive, so much so, that even those in the audience who are allies of a given speaker are even telling them to sit down.

What is clearly evident is some in our community are attempting to stall the progress of the Zoning Board, and most are now becoming weary of it.  We’re aware of why some are stretching this out, and we’ll be reporting the reason at a future date.

In the meantime, the next meeting of the Zoning Board is scheduled for Tuesday, August 30th at 6:30 PM at Countryside Elementary School.

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microphoneThe Zoning Board of Appeals will holding a meeting tonight at Countryside Elementary School to continue their public hearing from August 1st regarding a proposed amendment to commercial horse boarding codes.  The meeting begins at 7:30 PM, and a copy of the full agenda, including updated written comments for consideration by the board, can be viewed and downloaded here.

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Audio recordings from the June 20th Zoning Board of Appeals meeting are available for review on the Village website.  The menu of edited recordings by agenda topic can be accessed by clicking here.

Nine residents made public comments at the beginning of the meeting, and since the sole topic for discussion that evening was the commercial horse boarding zoning text, a handful of historically vocal equestrians on the matter made most of the remarks.

The first speaker was the chairman of Barrington Hills Farms (formerly known as the “Duda” property), who stated, “we have invested in this property with the intention of housing two wonderful organizations, one of which is HARPS, which we’re all familiar with.  We very much depend on the horse boarding text amendment as it exists today, and hope that there is nothing that is ever done to change that.”  His comments can be heard here.

As we’ve reported recently (see  Plans unveiled for new HARPS facility), most of the 600 plus acres that compromise Barrington Hills Farms is not in Barrington Hills, but instead in unincorporated McHenry County, so few, if any, of our codes pertain to their plans.  And the HARPS facility is already going through the McHenry County zoning process.  So, even if the proposed new HARPS facility were being built in Barrington Hills, codes outside of any commercial boarding text would require that a special use permit be granted, since the HARPS complex is an animal rescue facility and it will also be providing out-patient veterinary treatment.

It’s also worth noting that Barrington Hills Farms was organized on June 25, 2014, according to records seen here.  The Zoning Board of Appeals didn’t even hold a public hearing on any of the four commercial horse boarding text amendments submitted that year until July 21, 2014, so at the time the 602 acres were purchased, boarding was still classified under “Home Occupation” in our codes.

The second speaker is a professional horse and rider trainer in the Village who was very vocal during the last public hearings in 2014.  Since that time, she has moved her base of operations from Tudor Oaks Farm to Oakwood Farms.  Her comments can be heard here.

During her remarks, she stated, “I have to surmise that the only possible reason that the Village Board of Trustees wants a ‘do over’ would be to satisfy their own egos to get their own way at any cost.”  It would seem that if this were this the case, this meeting would have taken place a year ago after the 2015 election.

Further on she stated that, “every discussion regarding horse boarding is held in executive session now in the, with the Board of Trustees, so the general public is left out of the loop.”   

We cannot comment on her allegation since executive sessions by the Board of Trustees are confidential, but we are interested in which trustee(s) might be sharing information from these meetings with interested parties.

Later on, a resident at the heart of the boarding controversy, who was allowed a protracted amount of time to comment said, “We’ve been debating this horse boarding issue since two-thousand and five, OK?  The only year I think it may not have been on the agenda in the last 12 years is 2013.  But I could be wrong, I’d have to go back and look.

So for 12 years we’ve been going through this.  We’ve considered special use.  We’ve considered a bunch of things.  We’ve considered agriculture, all this stuff, and finally a year ago, or it’s two years ago, a year ago we passed it, two years ago it started, we passed an amendment.  Yah, some people may not like it, but that’s the democratic process, and it passed.” 

The speaker’s full comments can be heard here, but we would be remiss if we did not remind readers of the change in presidency of our Village in 2013 when horse boarding was not an issue according to the speaker. 

Two years later, the “democratic process” the speaker referred to may have contributed to the ouster of two incumbent trustees in the 2015 elections who voted to approve a commercial horse boarding amendment considerably based on the language the speaker himself proposed in 2014.

The last public speaker, who happens to be in the real estate profession, added his perspectives on how the recently enacted commercial horse boarding codes have affected property values and sales in Barrington Hills.  His comments can be heard here.

When the board got down to their business at hand, the question of whether the current commercial horse boarding text enacted in early 2015 should be revisited was posed by the chair and the attorney  to the board members .  The question was prompted by a recent petition submitted to the village by a resident to amend the current commercial horse boarding codes.

The first member to respond did not hesitate, but we cannot do his comments justice by summarizing them.  What we will state is his remarks on what has transpired in recent years were remarkably candid.

We also believe he has coined a phrase that will be repeated often when he referred to a “handful” in our community as “Radical Jihadist Equestrians” (henceforth RJE’s) who shoved the current commercial horse boarding text down residents’ throats.  He later apologized for the frankness of his remarks, however, we believe many readers will appreciate them, and they can be heard here.

The next member to speak suggested that perhaps the Home Occupation Ordinance (which was the former code for all boarding operations since 2005), was “far too restrictive” on larger existing boarding operations, and that the 2015 text amendment “compensated too far in the opposite direction.”   She went on to state the board should revisit horse boarding codes in an attempt to find a middle ground.  Those comments can be heard here.

The third board member’s comments, again, cannot be summarized in order to do them justice. However, his historical knowledge and prior experience on the Plan Commission warrant readers to take note and listen to them by clicking here.

Another member stated he would like to learn more of the history of the matter, but expressed his belief that the recently enacted ordinance provided, “large powers to businesses.” 

He went on to say, “I think everyone here in Barrington Hills moved here for the space, and for the quiet, for the nature.  Some wanted horses, which is great.  I prefer to ride bicycles, that’s great.  Some people like to bird or hike or whatever, it’s always been a place, I think, peace and quiet and neighbors getting along.”  His remarks can be heard here.

The next member to speak was on the Zoning Board when the draft of the current boarding text was being fast-tracked, and he recalled, “I was on the Zoning Board when it was passed, and I was given assurances that wasn’t going to be passed the way it was, that we going to discuss alternatives, and that never occurred, so it doesn’t bother me to come back and revisit the issue.”  His comments can be heard here.

The chair then stated he thought there was a consensus to review the text that is currently in place, but also suggested options that included doing nothing at all.  He then laid out a preliminary action plan and timeline for the process to proceed.  Both remarks can be heard here.

During the discussion that ensued, the board agreed they wished to hear from residents on the matter during the process, and they would solicit expert testimony as needed. 

They also would like to have the Barrington Hills Park District weigh in on the matter.  We find this curious, since there may be conflict of interest on the part of at least three members of that board, two of whom spoke during public comments at this meeting (John Rosene and Dennis Kelly).  Nonetheless, we look forward to hearing their perspectives.

The next meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled for Monday, July 18th.

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The Village Board will hold their regular monthly meeting this evening at 6:30 PM.  A copy of the agenda can be viewed here.  

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The Village Board will hold their regular monthly meeting Monday at 6:30 PM.  A copy of the agenda can be viewed here.

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Audio recordings from the regular December meeting of the Board of Trustees are posted to the Village website for review.

There were no comments from the public, and the meeting lasted only about an hour.  It appears from listening to the full unedited recording that the Levy Ordinance draft was being finalized as the trustees were meeting, since it was voted on toward the end of the session. 

Perhaps this last-minute preparation is due to the recent change in the treasurer position and this caused a special December 22nd meeting to approve an amended levy.  We’ll know more when those recordings are released.

To access the menu of edited recording segments based on the agenda items, click here.

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The Village Board will hold their regular monthly meeting Thursday, December 17th.  The agenda for the meeting can be viewed here.

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