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VBH__LogoThe Village Board will meet on Monday August 28th at 6:30 PM. The agenda can be viewed here and the e-Packet can be found here.

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audio_tape_revox_pr99-203Audio recordings from the July 24th, 2017 meeting of the Board of Trustees have been posted. To access the menu of recordings edited by agenda item, click here.

Most of the brief meeting consisted of routine business, but, again, property owned by Barrington Hills Farm LLC (BHFarm) provided the most interesting fodder for discussion.  As we mentioned previously, the owner(s) of the unoccupied property at 2400 Spring Creek Road had been cited for demolition of a residence without a building permit and for removal of two posted Stop Work Order signs. Additionally, many trees and much vegetation had been removed without a permit required under the village’s Heritage Tree Ordinance.

Trustee Colleen Konicek asked Administrator Bob Kosin for an update on the situation.  The issue of the removal of the Stop Work Order signs is currently in the hands of the village prosecutor, and the courts will be left to determine if the violation did take place, and what fines, if any, should be imposed.  Kosin went on to state that the necessary demolition permit had now been obtained, albeit AFTER the fact, and that according to the demolition contractor, none of the work to remove the debris from the demolition of the 2900 sq. ft. home had required an overweight permit.  Trustee Brian Cecola strongly questioned the notion that a residence of that size could be taken down without the need for an overweight permit.  Konicek pressed the issue further, asking Kosin what evidence had been provided that an overweight permit had not been required? Kosin was forced to admit there was no evidence, just the word of the contractor. We wonder how many other residents would be afforded this same benefit of the doubt.

On the issue of the trees that had been removed, Kosin stated that the Village’s tree contractor had been sent out, and he determined that no heritage trees had been lost or jeopardized on the site, again AFTER the fact, and that the property owner had been appropriately billed (and paid ) for the arborist’s inspection fee. Kosin expressed supreme confidence in the arborist’s psychic abilities to determine the species of trees which had been removed, without ever having seen them.  We don’t quite understand how this was possible — perhaps he conducted a DNA analysis of the sawdust residue?

President Martin McLaughlin expressed concern about the objectivity of the arborist, Chuck Stewart, who had performed the study of the property, because Stewart rents office space in a building owned by one of the members of the board of Barrington Hills Farm. Trustee Michelle Maison was also troubled by this perceived conflict of interest and inquired if another independent tree analysis should be conducted.

McLaughlin then brought up the issue of the deannexation request (dated July 17, 2017) for 2400 Spring Creek Road. Back in the fall, the trust controlling BHFarm had expressed interest in annexing ALL of the former Duda property back into the Village during a friendly 2 1/2 hour staff meeting during which the village outlined two timelines to complete the annexation petition process. He found it odd that first they wanted to annex into the village, and now they want to annex out of the village. He also reminded the new Board members about the trust’s previous request for an easement for its proposed HARPS facility (which still has not broken ground).  The trust had wanted an easement, requested it, constructed the legal documents for it, and when the Board agreed to it, the trust wanted the easement out.

McLaughlin described how the Village has gone out of its way to say “yes” numerous times to requests by BHFarm, and explained how the Village has tried to work with the individuals representing BHFarm, only to have the trust change their minds about things that they themselves had asked for.  He likened dealing with the BHFarm trust as doing the Hokey Pokey — they want the easement in, they want the easement out, they want to annex in, they want to annex out. All of it, he said, amounted to much silliness, and in our opinion, wasting of board and staff time, not to mention taxpayer dollars.

minion-hokeypokey-o

Doing the annexation hokey pokey

Trustee Paula Jacobsen wondered why the village couldn’t have employed a warmer and fuzzier process to inform the property owner of their violation of the cease and desist order, perhaps by placing a personal phone call. Jacobsen was either playing dumb in thinking that property owners’ phone numbers are listed on property deeds, or perhaps she was pandering to BHFarm’s board which is headed by a prominent donor to her recent trustee campaign. Her point seemed to be that the property owner was not being treated in a neighborly manner, despite the fact that the only publicly available contact information is an street address in Chicago. Never did she place any onus on the property owner who apparently assumed that it was okay to knock down a house without consulting the municipal authorities in advance. Maybe she has never heard of the expression “ignorance of the law is no excuse”?

And, if the village had gone to extreme lengths to track down a telephone number in this particular instance, wouldn’t that create a dangerous precedent for the village’s future contacts with other property owners?  AND, does Jacobsen really believe that the contractor(s) who removed the trees and demolished the residence didn’t inform their employer of the Stop Work Order?

Those conversations can be heard here.

Later in the meeting, during discussion of the disconnection petition itself, Village Attorney Mary Dickson described the legal requirements for disconnection and confirmed that the subject property meets all of them. However, the village cannot act on such a petition sooner than 30 days after receiving it, and, as a result, the attorney will prepare an ordinance for possible action at the next Board meeting in August.

Dickson cautioned that any penalties regarding the cease and desist order violation pending in court should be resolved and that any other monies due to the Village should be paid PRIOR to the Board of Trustees taking final action on BHFarm’s petition.

Jacobsen continued to puzzle over the reason for the disconnection request into unincorporated McHenry County, and asked if the petitioner would be making a presentation to the Board explaining the reasons for the disconnection.  Dickson explained that no such presentation is legally necessary.  (We suggest that Jacobsen pick up the telephone a place a neighborly phone call if she wants to quench her curiosity.) Attorney Dickson opined that maybe developmental rights are the reason, and perhaps the best prospects for the owner’s desired development of the property may lie with the county rather than the village. We’d say that Ms. Dickson hit the nail on the head with that assessment.

The disconnection discussion can be heard here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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VBH__LogoThe Village Board will meet on Monday June 26th at 6:30 PM. The agenda can be viewed here. The e-Packet was not posted as of Saturday evening, but we presume when it is posted, it will be found here.

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 Audio recordings from the April 24, 2017 meeting of the Board of Trustees have been posted. To access the menu of recordings edited by agenda item, click here.

The meeting began with service awards being presented to outgoing Trustees Fritz Gohl and Mike Harrington.  President Martin McLaughlin very graciously acknowledged the service and work provided to the village by these two individuals over their terms.  His words were particularly diplomatic towards the latter, considering the highly critical vitriolic speeches that Harrington routinely directed towards McLaughlin. Those diplomatic remarks by the President, as well as Gohl’s unnecessary parting shot of  “don’t F* up the five acre zoning”, can be heard here.

Next, one speaker, Kristina Anderson, made public comment on two issues, and due to the very inflammatory and accusatory nature of her remarks, we have transcribed them  in full at the end of this article.  You can listen for yourself here.  Apparently, in the eyes of the equestrian extremists loyal to the former village president, campaigning for the 2019 Election has already begun, continuing on the false narrative presented by the newly elected Your Barrington Hills trustees — Paula Jacobsen and Bob Zubak — during this year’s election cycle.

During the Finance portion of the meeting, the hiring of a part-time permit coordinator for the Building Department was discussed.  Village resident Nikki Panos was hired last month after interviewing with the Personnel Committee, Village Administrator Bob Kosin, Village Clerk Anna Paul and Ken Garrett from the Building Department.

It was explained that the Village’s Building Code Enforcement Officer Ken Garrett had been devoting 30-40% of his time in the office, mainly performing filing duties, and was being compensated at the rate of $100/hour.  The new permit coordinator is being paid $20/hour, creating a substantial cost savings to the village, and allowing Garrett to spend more productive time in the field. It was further explained that having a resident as coordinator is beneficial, as there is less of a learning curve for an employee who already understands the complexities of the village and has a better familiarity of obscure village roads, etc.

In the Public Safety portion of the meeting, Trustee Brian Cecola complimented the Police Department on its successful use of the Village’s reverse-911 alerts in helping inform residents about a missing fifth-grade girl earlier in the month.

Chief Semelsberger addressed the aforementioned public commenter’s complaints regarding the supposed discontinuation of the non-emergency police phone number.  He explained that Monday-Friday, from 8 AM-4PM, the police non-emergency number, (847) 551-3006, is the same as it has always been, and then after-hours, the QuadCom non-emergency number should be used.  Either way, dispatchers answer the phone, press a button on their console and are able to direct police to the person’s home.  If (847) 551-3006 is called after-hours, the caller receives a message giving them the QuadCom non-emergency number which is (847) 428-8784. The Chief expressed satisfaction with the operation of the system and stressed that a non-emergency number is always available to residents, in addition to 911 services. Readers can listen to the full discussion by clicking this link.

During the Planning section, President McLaughlin refuted the commenter’s allegations about the lack of Barrington Hills’ leadership being involved in the ongoing Hoffman Estates development battle.  He described that he has personally attended three public meetings.  Trustee Michelle Maison has, in fact, also attended and presented at a public meeting, as well as  participated in a pre-meeting with representatives of School District 220 and District 300 to plan joint strategies to address the Hoffman Estates annexation/development of the Iatarola property at the northwest corner of Routes 72 & 59. Adminstrator Kosin has also participated in a number of meetings.  McLaughlin described the current attempt to amend the existing pre-annexation agreement dating back to 2004, back when the property was originally de-annexed from Barrington Hills.  He complimented Ms. Anderson’s involvement in advocating for a group of citizens, but was very clear that her perception of lack of involvement on the part of the village board or administration is completely unfounded and she should know better because she personally was in attendance at meetings where McLaughlin, Maison and Kosin all presented remarks.  In addition, he reminded the public that many meetings and discussions have taken place in between public meetings with school district representatives and various attorneys from the villages involved.

McLaughlin further expressed that Barrington Hills is operating from a deficit position, legally speaking, as our village does not have a boundary agreement with Hoffman Estates, unlike South Barrington which does. However, due to our good relationship with South Barrington, the village has been permitted to sit in on meetings with them and to provide input representing our village’s interests.  (It should be noted that Barrington Hills approached Hoffman Estates in 2013 and 2014 concerning a border agreement, but Hoffman Estates expressed no interest in such an agreement.)  McLaughlin also described the united front that D220 & D300 are presenting to the proposed development.

McLaughlin also addressed Anderson’s allegation that members of the board may have personal interests in the Iatorola development, stating ” I have no idea where that’s coming from”. He further described his good working relationship and open lines of communication with Hoffman Estates Mayor Bill McLeod.  And the board members all scoffed at the insinuation that anyone was in favor of eliminating five acre zoning.

The Planning portion of the meeting can be heard here in its entirety.  Unfortunately, Ms. Anderson had exited the meeting after making her remarks, so she heard none of the corrections to her unfounded inflammatory comments.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Good evening, I’m Kristina Anderson. I live at ### here in the beautiful village of Barrington Hills. Before I get to the main reason why I’m here tonight, I want…seeing the Chief, I just wanted to comment, maybe someone has already said this to you guys the residents really miss the police non-emergency number. We loved it. When something would happen that we didn’t deem a life and death emergency but, you know, they’re back on Healy setting off fireworks or things like this, the ability to call our own police and report it and have them come out and deal with it was fantastic. So I don’t know how much of a cost savings was achieved by getting rid of it, but if it’s a buck or five bucks a household I think most residents would pay it. So I would urge you to reconsider that. If there is a logistical problem to not having it that I don’t know, forgive me. But if there is a way to put it back in, residents loved it and residents miss it. We love our police they do an awesome job. We don’t want to put them to more work than we should, but when they are available to come out on the non-emergency calls, they deal with um problems before the problem gets worse. And that’s really nice.

But why I’m really here tonight, is in fact, to talk about the five acre zoning and to see if am some of the trustees and/or President McLaughlin can take up the cause of the Hoffman Estates development. As you know the continued zoning meeting over there is tonight. I don’t know if any of you are going or you’re sending your village lawyer, which I would strongly urge you to do. Because South Barrington is sending their village lawyers. They sent them last week …their mayor, their trustees, their village engineer, and is really stepping up. And I’d really like to see Barrington Hills step up in the same way and fight for our residents on the issue of five acre zoning, which becomes threatened the more dense developments we have on our borders. As we build more and more dense developments on the borders, super dense, crazy dense like this one which even Hoffman Estates says is unprecedented in its density, we then create the opportunity for people to feather in from the village, have 2 ac… you know, a quarter acre, a half an acre, one acre, two acres, and we shrink the village down into its central little nugget as we do that.

And we know that the Hills & Dales Duchossois property, the Cressey property, are zoned already by McHenry County for less than five acres. Some of you guys may want that, some of you guys might be realtors, or real estate owners or developers. Some of you guys may have a personal connection to Mr. Iatarola or his family, or those investments. We know there are people in the community that do and want to protect their investments and I would urge you guys to disclose that – if you have interests in the Iatarola property or have interests in seeing the village go to less than five-acre zoning. But I would also urge you guys, if you’re committed to five acre zoning, to tell us all that you are committed to five acre zoning, say that publicly, that you’re going to fight for it, and then really step up and fight for it because this is the way to keep the village the way that it is. And I don’t think any of you want Barrington Hills to be South Barrington or Hoffman Estates. Those are great communities but those aren’t the ones we moved to.

So, I speak for many, many people who couldn’t be here tonight and who are members of the group is opposing the Hoffman development. We are concerned about that and the impact upon the village, the traffic, the schools, all of it. Public safety, um, the truth is that no one knows what that development is going to look like and no one knows if it’s going to be fancy or low-income housing. We don’t know, we really don’t know and so its really important that we fight for the village and its safety and security, and to make sure, as we move forward, the Oak Knoll property that’s fifty acres, the Duchossois property if that eventually goes, we don’t want to see those become high density too and this sets a dangerous precedent. So, I speak for the residents in urging you guys to continue to fight this.

 

 

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

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audio_tape_revox_pr99-203Audio recordings from the January 23rd meeting of the Board of Trustees are available on the Village website.  To access the full menu of recordings, click here .

During the Finance report, Village Treasurer Peggy Hirsch reported that for 2016 the village collected more than budgeted, and also spent less than budgeted. The preliminary unaudited savings is roughly $175,000. In 2016, budgeted expenditures were about $7.877 million, with $7.7 million having actually been spent. 2017’s budget is $7.579 million, with the tax levy set at $5.314 million, reduced from the 2016 levy of $6.191 million. President McLaughlin remarked on these positive accomplishments by the Board, and noted if school districts, townships and library districts would follow suit in better fiscal management as the village has, all areas of our property tax bills would go down. That section of the recording can be heard here .

The Treasurer also reported on the Police Pension Board (PPB) and remarked that the Pension Board has finally put out a Request For Proposal (RFP) for investment services, after years of their investments managed by the current firm lagging significantly behind the established benchmarks. Six RFPs have been received and the PPB will be reviewing the firms.

Trustee Colleen Konicek Hannigan reported that the $25,000 fine for violation of the Home Occupation Ordinance at a residence of Saville Row has been paid to the Village, which is the largest fine that has been collected by Barrington Hills for such a violation.

Kenneth Garrett from B & F Code Services, who works for our Building Department, presented a summary of the status of the Village’s current building codes and standards for construction. Mr. Garrett explained how many of Barrington Hills’ codes are very outdated, with some dating back to 1979, and are woefully inaccurate and outdated, and not in compliance with contemporary state and local standards. His firm has proposed a full review of current code and adoption of a new updated building code which B&F will present at a future date. The board voted unanimously to approve B&F’s proposal.

An update on the status of the village’s opposition to Longmeadow Parkway (LMP) was presented during the Roads & Bridges report. On January 18th, President McLaughlin, Village Administrator Bob Kosin, Engineer Dan Strahan and Village Attorney Mary Dickson all met with members of the Kane County Department of Transportation (KDOT), including engineers and planners, and a representative of the Kane County State’s Attorneys’ office. During that meeting, the Village reiterated that Autumn Trail, as a private road, is not and has never been a village road, and that Barrington Hills takes exception to Kane County’s Declaration of Municipal Extension of Village Owned Road. Kane’s declaration would attempt to take over ownership of Autumn Trail from what they assert is village ownership so that KDOT may proceed with tree cutting and construction on Autumn Trail for the LMP project. McLaughlin explained that KDOT has again been informed that Barrington Hills does not accept Kane’s characterization of the way Autumn Trail’s original plat of survey was designated by the developer. It was repeated to KDOT that the Village has never maintained Autumn Trail in any way and plat designation was never accepted by the village.

According to Engineer Strahan, KDOT is still planning on letting for bids in March, but cannot proceed without the IDOT required certified right of way on Autumn Trail. Bob Kosin was directed to write a letter to the IDOT official in charge of certification to make it clear that KDOT’s declaration is not recognized by Barrington Hills.

McLaughlin, Kosin and Trustee Konicek also attended the McHenry County Council of Governments (McCOG) meeting on January 18th, and once again voted against McCOG’s proposed transportation agenda, casting a negative vote with regard to LMP and rejecting the “widening” of Route 62/Algonquin Road.

After seven minutes of discussion, Trustee Fritz Gohl piped up, saying “I’m sure this is a stupid question, but I don’t care” (which pretty much summarizes Gohl’s long tenure on the Board of Trustees). Gohl asked, “is it too late to change the designation of Autumn Trail (to a village road)?” After explanation again by the village engineer, it was painfully obvious that Gohl had no understanding (as had just been described at length) that a change in the municipal designation would essentially green-light KDOT to take over right-of-way on Autumn Trail, and could also likely set a precedent for village responsibility of all private roads, thereby making taxpayers liable for future maintenance and repaving. Gohl’s brilliant thoughts can be heard here .

Next the Board turned its attention to a Resolution to Accept a Plat of Easement for Road Purposes for the Barrington Hills Farm (BHF) parcel located at the corner of Church and Chapel Roads. Trustee Michelle Maison summed up the confusion of the board about the return of this issue when she stated, “What is this?” The Village had previously voted to accept a plat of dedication, prepared by BHF, for the southeastern portion of Church Road where two driveway entrances for their proposed HARPS facility will be located. After acceptance of the dedication by the village (Resolution 16-24) in September 2016 and approval of a second driveway cut in, the property owner changed his mind and decided that he didn’t want to dedicate of the right of way to the village after all and wanted to do an easement instead.

President McLaughlin shared his frustration about the 180 degree switch in BHF’s position, asking “How many times can we say yes?” Trustee Konicek agreed and also expressed her displeasure with the attitude of the property owner who has sent multiple accusatory letters insinuating that the Village was somehow trying stall the HARPS facility. Trustee Maison asked for further clarification of the reason for the easement, the purpose of which seem to be trying to limit what the village could possibly do to the roadway in the future. Maison asked if this meant that any village property owner who currently provides the village with a prescriptive easement could demand a plat of easement with attached conditions.

Konicek also expressed deep concern about giving preferential property rights to the owner of an unincorporated non-residential property whose driveway happens to be on a village-maintained road over the rights of actual village residents. The proposed easement attempts to dictate what the roadway speed limit could be on that section of road, what the roadway weight limits could be, and to require special advance notifications if equipment would be needed on the side of the road for emergency repairs. She was also concerned about giving special treatment to a non-taxpaying entity. Maison was troubled about setting a precedent for other property owners coming forward and making similar demands, and suggested that the board not even vote on the easement.

McLaughlin characterized the entire situation as a unnecessary political show which has now become expensive to the village.  McLaughlin suggested constructing a document which would grant the property owner a second driveway cut, but would not include binding terms upon the village. The Village Engineer explained that he had originally recommended the easement due to  the overall construction project being well beyond the scope of just a single family residence. Strahan also explained that BHF does not currently even have a building permit from McHenry County, and the Village’s approval of the second driveway is only one of six issues that BHF still has to resolve before the County could issue them a permit to proceed.

At that point in the meeting, the Board voted 4-3 to table a vote on the easement, with Croll, Gohl and Harrington voting no. Trustee Harrington asked if there would be a risk to the village if the easement were not accepted, and if the property owner could revoke the prescriptive easement that currently exists. Attorney Dickson explained that there would be no risk and, logically, no property owner would want to revoke a prescriptive easement because the owner would then have to assume all responsibility for maintenance of that section of road.

Harrington then stated that the current property owners have a plan for the land which is dramatically better than proposed Duda development, and he gets the sense that the owners do not have a very trusting relationship with the village, and that the village should have a more welcoming attitude towards them and should be more encouraging to have them come back into the village.

Konicek again expressed her offense to the repeated accusatory correspondence that the BHF property owner has sent to the village which has incorrectly insinuated that the village is intentionally stalling the HARPS facility. She also asked Harrington if he does have knowledge of plans for the 600 acre property beyond the 21 acre HARPS facility then he should share it with the rest of the Board. Harrington was conspicuously mute. President McLaughlin went on to describe several meetings that he and the village staff have had with the property owner regarding possible re-annexation, but no petition to annex has been received since their last conversation in October.

Trustee Brian Croll stated that some elements of the proposed dedication are acceptable to him, and some are not particularly those elements that are left to the discretion and approval of the property owner. He felt that those items should be removed from any new agreement.

Attorney Dickson stated that at a future meeting, the board needs to repeal the September 2016 resolution for the dedication of the plat that the property owner had subsequently revoked.

The lengthy discussion ended with a request for Dickson to construct a new dedication of easement with input from the trustees for terms that would be more amenable to the village, and then return discussion of the easement to the Roads & Bridges Committee.

The Barrington Hills Farm easement discussion begins here. (Note:  The BHF easement document was not linked in the meeting’s posted e-Packet and apparently was not made available to the Board until shortly before the meeting.)

Lastly, in the Administrative portion of the meeting, McLaughlin refuted an Algonquin Township candidate’s website which erroneously advertised an endorsement by him. McLaughlin stated that neither he nor the village is not an endorser of any specific candidate in any township race, whether in Algonquin, Cuba or Dundee Townships. He went on to say that the village absolutely supports the services we have received from those entities, but it is unfair to be listed as an endorser of a specific candidate. He urges residents to do their own homework and research, and then chose the person who would best represent them, from both an economic and a service perspective. Those comments can be heard here .

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Audio recordings from the December 19th meeting of the Board of Trustees are available on the Village website.  To access the full menu of recordings, click here.

One resident, who also serves as chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals, made remarks during public comment, seeking to set the record straight on a statement made by Trustee Fritz Gohl during the Board of Trustees Special Meeting on December 7th. Those remarks can be heard here.

During the Finance portion of the meeting, the Board of Trustees voted to approve the tax levy for 2017.  Once again, the levy amount is down from the previous fiscal year, with a reduction of $972,000. (A tax levy is the total amount of property taxes that a village asks for from taxpayers in order to balance its budget, after taking in account other revenue sources.)

In addition, the Village Budget for 2017 is also lower than 2016, with projected expenditures of $7,580,000, down from $7,853,000.

The full Finance recording can be found here.

Discussion of  Building Enforcement activities revolved primarily around a residence on Tamarack Lane whose owner had created an unauthorized driveway onto Route 68, prompting complaints from IDOT and inspection by the Village. There were also concerns that the property owner may be using the property in violation of the Home Occupation Ordinance (HOO).  The homeowner had indicated that the excess vehicles and equipment on the property would be removed by the end of that week,  potentially remedying his HOO problem, but the issue of closure of the access onto Route 68 remains.  The village has requested a court date in January to enforce closure of the unauthorized driveway.

In the matter of the Saville Row residence which had been found to be in violation of the HOO, the village is still awaiting payment of the $25,000 fine, which has a January 7th deadline according to the settlement that was approved in October.

The recording of the Building and Zoning portion of the meeting can be found here.

The Board of Trustees also voted to approve expending staff resources and time to research re-authorization of an twenty year Intergovernmental Agreement with South Barrington when the current border agreement expires in approximately three years.  That discussion can be found here.

 

 

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