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Barrington Hills’ elected officials want village hall and the adjacent police headquarters to reopen to the public this month, with visitors abiding by state regulations such as social distancing.

Barrington Hills’ elected officials want village hall and the adjacent police headquarters to reopen to the public in less than two weeks, with visitors abiding by state regulations such as social distancing.

Village board members have set May 19 as the target date for the municipal buildings to be accessible to the public. Officials said the facilities typically receive a minimum number of visitors.

In addition, the village board plans to end teleconference meetings and return to in-person sessions, while not exceeding a limit of 10 people together and spreading them 6 feet apart in a room, Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin said.

“It’s really difficult to get the sense of what somebody’s going through on a Zoom (video) call or a phone call,” he said. “You can’t really interact. And from board member to board member, it’s really difficult to communicate as well. You’re getting cut off mid-sentence. It’s just not an appropriate way, in my opinion, to do public business from this point moving forward.”

Read more here.

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The Barrington Hills Board of Trustees is holding a special meeting remotely Monday evening at 6:30 PM. It was called by two of its members regarding consideration of opening the Village of Barrington Hills in line with what many other communities in Illinois and around the country are doing.

A copy of the agenda can be viewed here, and a link to the conference call can be found here.

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Our Village Board of Trustees meets this evening, and one of the topics on their agenda is the,Open Burning Ordinance.” We have the sneaking suspicion this might me the first of many occasions this subject will appear in their and other’s agendas.

Many residents have shared their thoughts and frustrations on this ordinance since it was first passed around the turn of the century. It rarely comes up in public discussion even though open burning of “bonfires” is a daily occurrence somewhere in Barrington Hills.

Since it will be discussed tonight, here are some of our collective thoughts on what we see as the two primary components of contention of the ordinance:

Bonfire size:

The code states, “A bonfire shall not be more than 5 ft X 5 ft X 5 ft in dimension.”

Our experience is that few residents gather a bonfire for the purposes of roasting weenies and s’mores. When tree limbs and other debris are stacked on their five-acre property, can it be assumed that residents are following code or is it more likely that their bonfires are “illegal” due to the size?

Clearly there needs to be limits to the limits of the burn pile (our technical term), but the current limits are too low and unrealistic in most cases.

Hours and duration burning is allowed:

No bonfire shall be started or maintained other than between the hours of 10:00 AM. to 10:00 PM and for a maximum duration of 3 hours per day:

Experience shows winds are almost always calmest in the early morning and late evening hours. On any given day, by 7:00 – 8:00 AM, if you cannot see some neighborhoods with smoke rising, you will likely smell it some days.

Then, depending on the season, by 6:00 PM people are outdoors enjoying their property from barbecues to bocce, and they likely do not appreciate the smell of smoke other than that from their own grills. Also, in the spring and fall, who does not want to open their windows for fresh, cool air?

Summarizing, when it comes to size and time/duration of bonfires, although in most cases inadvertently, residents are breaking the law. If the codes are deemed acceptable, they should be enforced. If not, the need to be amended.

The Board of Trustees meeting is at 6:30, and a link to the remote proceedings can be accessed 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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New speed signs have been installed on Ridge Road and Dundee Lane

“You may have noticed our new radar speed signs on Ridge Road and Dundee Lane. If not, you might have been driving too fast. These signs, also known as driver feedback signs, are traffic calming devices designed to slow speeding vehicles by alerting drivers of their speed.

The signs were installed on Village roadways which have a significant volume of traffic and historical speeding issues. If they prove effective, additional signs may be purchased and installed on other Village roadways in the future.”

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“I’m not sure what the address is … ,” one person said. “I’m scared. … Can you see my location? Please come. Please, please, please.”

A review of 911 calls made on the night of a fatal Barrington Hills rental home shooting in early March offers a glimpse into the chaos of the night as party-goers called for help as they reported hiding in closets, bathrooms and other areas in and outside the sprawling house.

The 20 minutes of audio, which Pioneer Press received through a Freedom of Information Act request from Barrington Hills police, features 911 dispatchers fielding about two dozen calls. They were mostly from panicked party-goers, following early-morning gunfire March 7 in the 300 block of Old Sutton Road.

The emergency calls began with dispatchers asking for the address of the incident. Most who had dialed 911 didn’t immediately know where they were and said they had to check. A number of callers were hoping dispatchers could get the location using information from the callers’ cell phone.

Read more from the Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press here.

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Federal and local officials have gotten thousands of fraud complaints. Stimulus checks will create another tidal wave of fraud, authorities warn.

As opportunists and scam artists look to make a quick buck off the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of Chicagoans are inundating City Hall with complaints: $80 toilet paper, $50 hand sanitizer bottles and $15 jugs of vinegar.

And while price gouging is the most prevalent complaint, experts are sounding the alarm on bogus cures, fake deals on protective gear and con artists posing as government officials.

“This is the worst I’ve seen, and I’ve been doing this for 32 years,” said Steve Bernas, CEO of Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois. “I’ve never seen a calamity that would affect so many.”

Through Monday, the Federal Trade Commission fielded more than 540 fraud complaints related to the outbreak in Illinois, according to the agency. The Illinois attorney general’s office has reported handling almost 1,300 price-gouging reports.

And in Chicago, city officials have issued two civil citations for price gouging out of more than 400 complaints filed in March through mid-April, according to a spokesman for the city’s business affairs department. In 2019, there were only two complaints of price gouging the entire year, he said.

Read more from the Better Government Association here.

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