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HF

Front to back: Robert McGinley, Dan Lobbes, Renae Frigo and David Holman head back after checking the status of a former dam on Goose Lake in Horizon Farm preserve on Aug. 18, 2023, in Barrington Hills. Members of the Barrington Area Conservation Trust and The Conservation Foundation were out surveying Horizon Farm as part of an annual effort to track changes on the property. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune)

On a group tour of Horizon Farm Forest Preserve and its rolling pastures, a visitor joked that it would make a great par 3 golf course. Nature lovers shuddered at the thought, though such a use is prohibited on the site.

But the comment illustrates the tension the Forest Preserve District of Cook County faces balancing preservation and recreation. The district’s main mission is to preserve open space, and provide “nature-compatible” recreation.

In the case of Horizon Farm in northwest suburban Barrington Hills, the issue boils down to whether to save a half-mile horse racing track. The nearly 400-acre preserve used to be a horse breeding and training ground. The track was used to train thoroughbreds for racing at the now-closed Arlington International Racecourse.

When the forest preserve district bought Horizon Farm out of foreclosure for $14.5 million in 2013, officials expressed openness to keeping equestrian uses of the site. But 10 years later, the racetrack sits filled with wild plants, unused, its railing falling apart. A big chunk of the preserve remains closed, and some trails are overgrown. Horse lovers and other preserve users are wondering whether the district will save the track.

“It’s really a prize,” Barrington Hills Park District President Dennis Kelly said. “There’s been a lot of interest in the equestrian community, but we have not gotten a response.”

Not everyone is married to the idea of a horse track. Friends of the Forest Preserves, an independent nonprofit, takes the general position that recreation in the forest preserves — from boating to fishing to camping — should facilitate enjoyment of nature.

“As soon as recreation becomes about the activity, that is not in line with what should be done with the forest preserves,” Friends President Benjamin Cox said.

The group supports horse trails since anyone can use them, but has not taken a position specifically on the horse track. Exclusive sites such as a golf course or baseball diamond are only for those uses, so Friends would prefer not to build those in the preserves.

Read more here.

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May 23 BOT

Our Village Board of Trustees will be conducting their regular monthly meeting beginning this evening at 6:30 PM. A copy of the agenda can be viewed and downloaded here.

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Spec BOT

Our Village Board of Trustees will be holding a special meeting beginning this evening at 6:30 PM. The purpose is to certify the results of the April 4 election and to vote on Board responsibility assignments as follow:

  • John Carpenter Clarke: None
  • Laura Ekstrom: Environment, Roads & Bridges and Equestrian Commission
  • Darby Hills: Building & Zoning and Plan Commission
  • Jessica Hoffman: Health
  • David Riff: Municipal Buildings & Grounds and Public Safety
  • Thomas Straus: Finance, Insurance and Village Personnel

Also, President Cecola is nominating David Riff to be President Pro Tem.  A copy of tonight’s agenda can be viewed here.

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April 2023 Adg

Our Village Board of Trustees will be conducting their regular monthly meeting beginning this evening at 6:30 PM. Topics on their agenda include:

  • [Vote] Amended Village Budget FY 2023
  • [Vote] Resolution Authorizing the Issuance of Notice of Award for the 2023 Road Program Project by the Village of Barrington Hills, Illinois Resolution 23 –
  • [Vote] Ordinance Amending Escrow Requirements for Tree Removal Permits as Set Forth in Title 4, Chapter 6 in the Village Code Ordinance 23 –
  • [Vote] Resolution of Proclamation Appreciating Trustee Bryan C. Croll for 8 Years of Dedicated Service Resolution 23 –
  • [Vote] Resolution of Proclamation Appreciating Trustee Colleen Konicek Hannigan for 10 Years of Dedicated Service Resolution 23 –

In addition, nominations for new or renewal appointments to Boards and Commissions will be voted on.  Four member of the Equestrian Commission is on the list of renewals, however there is a problem with the renomination of one of those members.

That member ran for and won a seat on the Barrington Hills Park District Board earlier this month, and now this represents a conflict. Therefore, an alternate should be considered at a subsequent Board of Trustees meeting.

A copy of this evening’s agenda can be viewed and downloaded here.

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RCBH

The Riding Club of Barrington Hills (RCBH) recently released their April newsletter.  Topics covered this month include:

  • State of the trails
  • Saturday morning trail rides
  • 4th of July parade
  • What’s happening at the Park District, and
  • Forest Preserve

A copy of the RCBH newsletter can be viewed and downloaded here.

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BOT 8.23.21The Village Board of Trustees will be conducting their regular monthly meeting this evening at 6:30 PM.  Some of the topics on their agenda include:

  • A Resolution Authorizing the Execution of a Service Agreement with
    Lauterbach & Amen, LLP to Provide Services Attendant with the office of
    Village Treasurer Resolution 21 –
  • A Resolution consenting to the Appointment of Wes Levy of Lauterbach & Amen, LLP to the Office of Village Treasurer Resolution 21 –
  • Plan Commission Appointment: Christopher Geier – Term Expires April 2023, and
  • Resolution of Proclamation Congratulating Barrington Hills Country Club on the Occasion of its Centennial Year 1921 – 2021 Resolution 21 –

A copy of the agenda can be viewed and downloaded here.

Related:Barrington Hills Country Club Celebrates Its Centennial

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Village Hall

The Village Equestrian Commission meets this evening at 6:30 PM.   Topics on their agenda include:

  • Equestrian Trail License
  • 9th Annual The Hills Are Alive Fall Festival

The chair has submitted her summary of the “Equestrian Trail License” topic beginning on page three of the agenda which can be found here.

We have our own perspective(s) on the license matter, but for now, we’ll sit back and observe.

Related:Riding Club August newsletter released

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The Village Board of Trustees will be conducting their monthly meeting Monday evening at 6:30 PM.  Some of the topics on their agenda include:

  • [Vote] Ordinance Amending Title 8, Deleting in its Entirety, Chapter 5,
    Equestrian Trail License Ordinance 21 –
  • [Vote] An Ordinance Approving a Text Amendment to Add Canine Day Care
    and/or Doggy Day Care with Grooming, Training and Boarding, Day Care/Child
    Care/After School Care and Church/House of Worship to the List of Special
    Uses in the B3 General Business District Ordinance 21 –
  • [Vote] An Ordinance Amending Title 4, Building Regulations of its Code of
    Ordinances to Update Code References Ordinance 21 –
  • [Vote] A Resolution Authorizing and Approving the Execution of an “Amazon
    Locker Location Agreement” Allowing Placement of an Amazon Delivery
    Kiosk/Locker in Village Hall Resolution 21 –
  • [Vote] Equestrian Commission Appointment: Tricia Wood – Term through April
    2022
  • 9th Annual The Hills Are Alive Fall Festival – Sunday, September 19th – Noon
    to 4 PM

A copy of the disappointing agenda can be viewed and downloaded here.

Why disappointing you may ask?  Because for the third month in a row this administration has failed to step up publicly to address a clear conflict of interest existing at our Village Hall. Matter of fact, there isn’t even a place on the agenda to report what was discussed at the specifically nonspecific Personal Committee meeting held Monday.

Residents deserve better.

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May BOT

The Village Board of Trustees will be conducting their monthly meeting this evening at 6:30 PM.  Some of the topics on their agenda include:

  • [Vote] An Ordinance Providing for Regulations Against the Disturbance of Public Meetings Ordinance 21 –
  • [Vote] An Ordinance Granting an Amendment to an Existing Special Use Permit for the Expansion of the Parking Lot at 160 Hawthorn Road Ordinance21 –
  • [Vote] An Ordinance Granting a Special Use to Dundee Township Park District for a Recreational Facility along Longmeadow Parkway near Algonquin Road Ordinance 21 –
  • [Vote] An Ordinance Amending the Zoning Code list of uses permitted in theB3 Business District a Canine Day Care Ordinance 21 –
  • [Vote] An Ordinance Amending Section 4-2-2(D) Temporary Swimming Pools Ordinance 21 – (?)
  • [Vote] Appointments: Equestrian Commission

A copy of the agenda can be viewed and downloaded hereThe meeting is open to those wishing to attend or readers can listen in by calling 508-924-1464.

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BC

Current Village of Barrington Hills Trustee Brian Cecola

Races for mayor and village president have been some of the most hotly contested showdowns in the Northwest suburbs this election cycle.

Here’s a recap of a handful of the headline-grabbing contests.

Barrington Hills

Two candidates are vying to become Barrington Hills’ next village president.

Brian Cecola, a business owner and six-year village trustee, is taking on Dennis Kelly, the Barrington Hills Park District board president and a local insurance broker.

Incumbent Martin McLaughlin won the state House 52nd District race in November and isn’t seeking reelection.

Cecola touted his hands-on experience in village government. Kelly touted his experience serving on the park board for eight years, saying he would bring a new set of eyes to village hall.

Cecola said the village has lowered its tax levy and cut spending during his tenure on the board and as chairman of the public safety and roads and bridges committees, while at the same time ramping up its road program.

Kelly, the former chairman of the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce board, said he would emphasize transparency (WHAT TRANSPARENCY?) and participation by residents if elected.

Read more here.

Related:Endorsement: Cecola for Barrington Hills village president

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