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VBH__LogoThe ePacket agenda containing links to documents to be discussed during Tuesday evening’s Village Board meeting has been posted.  To access the ePacket link, click here.

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RCBH Logo 2With the passage of the Anderson-LeCompte Amendment allowing horse boarding businesses to expand their operations and proliferate throughout the Village, the Riding Club of Barrington Hills can claim “victory”—but hopefully only a temporary one.  The Riding “Clubbers” (we’ll see why that term in a moment) can celebrate that the goals they established in a 2005 white paper have now come to fruition (a copy of that white paper can be viewed here).

In that white paper written by John Rosene—yes, husband of Karen Rosene on the ZBA, who voted to expand horse boarding businesses— he urged his fellow Clubbers to take “aggressive” action under a “new strategy to ensure and enhance its future.”  The strategy was political.  As Rosene wrote:  “With the election of Bob Abboud to the presidency of the Village Board, along with supportive trustees who include Fritz Gohl” and others, the Clubbers would have important political allies.

Having political allies works.  It was the “supportive” Trustee Fritz Gohl who, with some help, scheduled a special board meeting last month where the Anderson-LeCompte abomination was passed.  And it was a very “special” meeting indeed, conducted with minimal public notice when President McLaughlin could not attend, and with public comment relegated to the end of the meeting, after a vote had occurred.

And, of course, the other trustees who voted for the Anderson-LeCompte Amendment included the three (Messer, Meroni, and Selman) who accepted and then affirmatively concealed campaign contributions from LeCompte, the primary beneficiary of the new law.

Back to the white paper.  The Clubbers’ spokesman Rosene told members in 2005 that those who did not share equestrian interests were not really neighbors, but rather were the enemy.  What was the mission?  Read it in the white paper:  “I believe our mission is to ensure that all new residents of Barrington Hills are, in fact, equestrians.”

And how to accomplish that mission?  Here was Rosene’s violent recommendation:

One approach is to ally ourselves with another “special interest group,” the National Rifle Association, and simply shoot in-coming non-equestrians as they arrive with their moving vans.  This is probably the most cost-effective way to go.

Or we can convert the “heathens.”

We can only hope these remarks were the product of bad judgment in using sarcasm to make a point.  We can be sure, however, that these comments reflect the level of compulsion that those who would make such statements, and publish them, have about the perpetuation of an equestrian lifestyle, to the exclusion of everything and everyone else.  “Heathens.”

We may not have been the victims of the physical assault advocated in the Rosene white paper, but our Village was surely “Clubbed” into submission through the passage of the Anderson-LeCompte Amendment, with help from “supportive” Trustee Gohl and the LeCompte-financed Trustees Messer, Selman and Meroni.

Fortunately, we have a timely opportunity to make the Clubbing only temporary with a Trustee Election in April.  We believe it’s time to elect new, unencumbered trustees to restore balance to Barrington Hills governance.

–     The Observer

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MarkTwainWbMark Twain once wrote, “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”  Twain was right, but in our case its half way or more around our Village.

Ever since an appellate court recently denied a request to reconsider their March 28 decision on a matter between two neighbors regarding one particular horse boarding business in the Village, unnecessary fear and propaganda has been spread throughout our community.

Past and present elected Village officials, and some in local social riding clubs, apparently have been working feverishly to hoodwink those who board horses into believing that the possible fate of this one large boarding operation will force their operations to close.

One thing for sure is they’ve certainly caused a lot of noise lately.

The owner of the boarding operation involved in the private litigation recently implied in a letter that Village President or Board refused to take action on changing our zoning to his benefit.  A newly circulated online petition on the other hand states it was our equestrian-dominated Zoning Board which “refuses to amend its zoning code to allow boarding.”  Next thing you know our Police Pension Board will be roped into this unnecessary campaign of fear mongering.

Even the social media cloud is buzzing with wild speculation that the Village wants to outlaw even the keeping of personal horses.  Commenters are questioning why and what will Barrington Hills do to augment the alleged significant tax revenues that will be lost from the boarding operations, tack shops, feed stores, restaurants and gas stations which are patronized by boarders.

Clearly, these individuals are very unfamiliar with our community and are not aware that the village receives no taxes from any boarding facilities.

It’s a shame that so much needless effort and emotion is being devoted to a non-issue, and that fabrications of reality is now being spread purely for political gain.  Horse boarding and training have been and are now allowed under our Home Occupation Ordinance within reasonable neighborly limitations.

Our Zoning Board, whose May meeting was held despite an apparent violation of adequate notice, is currently accepting the input of residents toward goal of amending our code as it relates to boarding.  They will be reviewing this and other matters at their next meeting on June 16th, but we believe this is just going through the motions.

Drafting of the horse boarding text amendment desired by some (or perhaps just one) began shortly after the March 28 appellate court ruling.  It’s likely been proofed and edited by handful of “interested parties” already,  but the lawful process which needs to be followed will take months, and some apparently cannot wait that long since the courts won’t wait.

The absolute shame of this whole nasty and ultimately costly situation is that it could have been averted.

Save 5 MesserTrustee Messer, the loudest of the Save 5 Acres Trustees at recent Village Board meetings on this matter, committed along with his running mates in their 2011 campaign  that We think the village should determine how both backyard boarding and large scale boarding should be regulated.”  

Over three years have passed since that commitment with the trustees taking no action on boarding, and now, quite suddenly, boarding is the most immediate and important matter to be addressed in our Village.

Sorry to inform you, Trustee Messer, but lack of fulfillment of a campaign promise on your part should not, and will not, create an emergency on any board or residents’ part, so please do your best to curtail any fear and smear campaign within your power, and please let any properly considered  text amendment process to our code take its course to what we expect to be the likely predetermined outcome.

–     The Observer

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2013ReviewInPics

The Observer takes a look back at the year gone by and presents our most frequently read editorials and news stories for 2013.  Click on any title to read or revisit stories from this past year.

Editorials:

It’s morning again

In May, the Observer anticipated the swearing-in of newly elected Village President Martin McLaughlin, and presented readers with a message of healing and reconciliation.

September Board recordings released and our observations

This was our most commented story of the year, and focused on the efforts of Trustee Patty Meroni to block the Inaugural Hills are Alive Fall Heritage Festival.

Time to step aside

This editorial from August discussed the ongoing difficulties that Village Board member Karen Selman seems to have with her duties chairing the Finance Committee.

The IAA Battle: Why it was over before it began

After East Dundee approved the proposed IAA auto auction facility in July, the Observer reflected upon a multitude of reasons that Bob Abboud’s strategy was doomed to fail.

It’s all about the money

This editorial, leading up to the April Village Election, highlighted the financial issues which faced the Village, including exorbitant legal spending and high FOIA costs.

McLaughlin for Village President, Konicek Hannigan and Stieper for Trustee

This opinion piece featured The Observer’s endorsements for Village Board seats in the April 9 election. 

News Stories:

McLaughlin Looks Ahead to Barrington Hills Presidency

The day after Martin J. McLaughlin’s surprise election victory over incumbent Robert G. Abboud, the Daily Herald interviewed the President-Elect, and discussed the challenges which lay ahead.

2013 Survey Report

As was the case in 2012, the compilation of the results of this year’s annual resident survey was one of the Observer’s top five stories of the year.

Hills are Alive Heritage Festival draws big crowd

The first-ever Hills Are Alive Fall Heritage Festival drew a large crowd of over 800 residents, who enjoyed many activities at the Barrington Hills Park District Riding Center.

AG’s office reviews ex-mayor’s Barrington Hills appointments

Shortly before leaving office, and with little if any prior notice, the former Village President made over thirty nominations or renominations to nearly every Village non-elected board, commission and committee. 

Ex-Barrington Hills mayor admits talking to ComEd about auto auction plan

Former Village President Robert Abboud admitted in July that he had contacted ComEd president and CEO Anne Pramaggiore and had urged her to deny Insurance Auto Auctions’ request to allow access to their East Dundee business using a ComEd easement.


2014 New Year

Once again, we at The Observer would like to express our heartfelt thanks to our readers and subscribers.  We wish you all           

Happy New Year!

–     The Observer

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Friday FlashbackFollowing are some of the stories reported by The Observer in the month of July 2010 to 2012.  These articles, gathered from various publications, are noteworthy for residents in that they remind us of where we’ve been as a community.

‘Dark sky’ proposal refined – 2010

The Barrington Hills Zoning Board of Appeals further refined a proposal to restrict outdoor lighting, conceding that security lights can be on longer in emergencies, but not giving ground on more decorative fixtures.

The board allowed no public comment at Monday’s meeting, but residents packed the room, and were admonished several times about their snickering and giggles over discussions of defining glare and light pollution.

The TribLocal story can be read here.

Village expected to be fully lit up again by midnight – 2011

The tiny village of Barrington Hills, which was left in the dark when a storm swept through the suburbs Monday,  should soon be lit up again, as electricity to 250 homes is expected to be restored by midnight, a spokesman for ComEd said Friday.  Since Monday, power has been restored to 1,300 households, the spokesman said.

This TribLocal piece can be read here.

Prologue to Farce and a Tragedy – 2012

Throughout the pages of the Observer, readers often see references to OMA – the Open Meetings Act, and FOIA – the Freedom of Information Act, but may not be fully aware of their provisions.  According to the Illinois Attorney General’s website,

“… public bodies exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business and that the people have a right to be informed as to the conduct of their business.”
– Illinois Open Meetings Act, 5 ILCS 120/1.

Read the full July 2012 Observer editorial here.

July 16 Zoning Board meeting audio recording released – 2012

In an unprecedented move, the Village has released a recording of this month’s Zoning Board meeting.  It was during this meeting that the ZBA voted to set aside the Home Occupation Ordinance Amendment addressing Commercial Horse Boarding in the Village and make no recommendation to the Board of Trustees on the matter.

A link to the forty-eight minute long meeting recording can be found here.

Horse boarding likely to be an election issue in Barrington Hills – 2012

Horses have long been a distinguishing feature of Barrington Hills, but could these four-legged residents prove to be the driving issue in the next village board election?

Read the Daily Herald perspective here.

–        The Observer

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rga_portrait_b&wThe Illinois attorney general’s Public Access Bureau is reviewing a complaint that former Barrington Hills Village President Robert Abboud’s 35 proposed committee appointments made after he lost the April 9 election were not adequately identified on a meeting agenda.

As such, the review is looking into whether the action constitutes a violation of the Illinois Open Meetings Act, spokeswoman Natalie Bauer said. She would not speculate on the time frame of the review or what action would be appropriate if it determined a violation had occurred.

Abboud said he was following the advice of the village attorney that sufficient notice on the agenda did not necessarily have to include names.

Read more here.

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A copy of the approved April 22 Village Board meeting minutes can be downloaded here.

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