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Archive for the ‘Village Attorney’ Category

Recordings from the remotely orchestrated Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday night have been posted and can be accessed for your listening pleasure by clicking here.

At the beginning of Trustee Brian Cecola’s Public Safety report, he read a letter he entered in to the record that we felt we should post now in light of the events on Old Sutton Road three weeks ago today.

His letter reads as follows:

“I want take this opportunity as public safety chair to personally thank our officers for the fine work they did with this recent incident. I also want to thank our surrounding communities police tasks force without their assistance and support it would be impossible tb investigate and handle situations like this.

As the public may or may not be aware when we have incidents, we rely upon intergovernmental agreements with surrounding communities to support each other in investigations.

In a recent meeting with the village president and administrator and in conjunction with the treasurer and the Police Chief I am advocating to move forward with presenting the· costs associated with this investigation for immediate reimbursement from the property owner the rental company agencies and the responsible party who rented this property.

As you may all be aware this village board tasked our Village attorney with notifying the owner of their non-compliance which they did promptly days prior to this incident.

It appears the property owner and rental agencies ignored our Instructions even after they agreed days prior that they were in violation.

They did so at their peril and if we do not recover our taxpayer’s costs then I suggest we take immediate legal action to do so.”

Hopefully Police Chief Joseph Colditz will have much more to report on this incident very soon.

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The Village Sign Regulations are on tonight’s agenda

The Village Board of Trustees will be conducting their regular monthly meeting remotely this evening beginning at 6:30 PM. To access the Meeting Packets page, please click here and follow the instructions in green near the middle of the page:

“At 6:30 pm on Tuesday March 24th, the public can enter their name in the box above and click ‘Join’ to attend the Board of Trustees meeting remotely. This will be an audio call. You will be able to offer public comment during that section of the agenda and will be able to listen to the rest of the meeting. You may join at any time after 6:30 pm until the meeting concludes.”

Unfortunately, this meeting won’t lend itself to video recording, which will frustrate at least two of our local Facebook bloggers. However we have every expectation they will provide their own spin on what happens tonight on their pages (usually a hoot-and-a-half that doesn’t disappoint!).

Hopefully, next month the meetings will take place at Village Hall in the usual format.

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346 Old Sutton Road

“In late February, the Village of Barrington Hills became aware of a home in our jurisdiction that was being marketed as a short-term rental space for uses such as vacations, conference centers and weddings, by accommodation facilitators such as Evolve, Vrbo and Airbnb.  The advertised use of the home suggested that it was not in compliance with an individual’s residential use of a home. 

The use of a residential property for purely commercial purposes is not allowed in Barrington Hills under the Village’s zoning regulations. 

On March 5, 2020, at the direction of the Village Board and Administration, the Village Attorney contacted one of the Property Owners and notified them that the advertised use of the home is strictly prohibited under the Village’s zoning regulations and could not lawfully occur. 

On March 6, 2020, the Property Owners’ Attorney contacted our Village Attorney to address this matter who, in turn, reiterated that the advertised use of the home was illegal and informed the Property Owners’ Attorney that the online Vrbo and Airbnb advertisements, as well as signage on the Property, should be immediately removed.  The Attorney for the Property Owner concurred with the Village Attorney’s assessment and stated he would advise the Property Owner that such use was prohibited and that the advertisements and signage must be removed. 

At no time was the Village aware that the Property Owners had a scheduled event for Friday, March 6, 2020.  The Property Owners did not cancel the event, despite the advanced notice from the Village that such use is strictly prohibited under the Village’s zoning regulations.   In the early morning of March 7, 2020, the Barrington Hills Police Department responded to call of shots fired at the Property.

The Village of Barrington Hills is deeply saddened by the events that occurred. Our current zoning codes exist to protect the health, safety and welfare of residents and to guard against the use of property in the Village which is not in keeping with the Village’s residential standards. Please be aware, this is an ongoing investigation and the Village can only release limited information. The Village will remain vigilant to halt such other uses as it becomes aware of any other property being used for short term rental.  The Barrington Hills Police Department would like to remind and encourage residents to never refrain from reporting suspicious activity or requesting assistance or service.”

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A flyer advertising the rental home at 346 Old Sutton Road in Barrington Hills is pictured March 10, 2020 outside the business where Cook County treasurer’s office records show the property’s tax bills are sent. The home became a crime scene after a Chicago man was shot and killed there March 7.(Pioneer Press / Pioneer Press)

Less than two weeks before a Chicago man was shot and killed at an Airbnb rental home in Barrington Hills, village officials discussed at a meeting the issue of short-term rentals.

Village officials discussed the issue at the Feb. 24 Village Board meeting, according to an audio recording of the meeting.

They mentioned nearby Lake Barrington’s decision a few years back to ban short-term rental after an early-morning shooting in April 2016 that left two people injured.

Ultimately, the Barrington Hills Village Board decided to wait for more information and research on what other communities have done.

According to village attorney Mary Dickson, the village code does not explicitly address short-term rentals, but it says that property in the residential district is only allowed for residential use, not commercial use. She said the fact that the owner did not live in the house and was only going to use it as a rental violates the code.

Dickson said the property owners were made aware of this violation prior to March 6.

Read more from the Chicago Tribune here.

Related:NEW! Solitude Ranch w/Indoor Pool, Event Friendly! $599 per night

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Police are outside a residence in the 300 block of Old Sutton Road in Barrington Hills on March 9, 2020, where 28-year-old Chicago man Sean Patton was shot and killed days before.(Kaitlin Edquist / Pioneer Press)

The man who died following a weekend shooting at a Barrington Hills house rented out on Airbnb has been identified as a 28-year-old man from Chicago.

In a news release Monday, the Barrington Hills Police Department identified the man as Sean Patton Jr.

“The preliminary investigation indicates there was a large party being held at the home by individuals from outside of Barrington Hills who had rented the property on a short-term basis,” police said in the release.

Village attorney Mary Dickson told the Barrington Courier-Review that short-term rentals are prohibited by village code.

Airbnb issued a statement Sunday saying the company has been in touch with investigators, that it is outraged by the “criminal violence,” and that house parties with open invitations are banned — a decision made by the company in December 2019.

Read more from the Chicago Tribune here.

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Barrington Hills village board members have rejected the idea of allowing recreational marijuana businesses in town.

Trustees voted 6-0 Monday for an ordinance prohibiting retail sales or other kinds of marijuana businesses in the village. The vote came a week after Barrington Hills’ advisory zoning board of appeals recommended a ban on recreational pot businesses.

“As with any zoning amendment, if the village board decides to adopt this ordinance, it can always change its mind,” Village Attorney Sean Conway told the elected officials.

Read more here.

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Paula Jacobsen

The latest Village newsletter came out recently, and it mentions the results of the latest Village annual audit among other things. The sound financial position of our Village is noted, but what is absent of any narrative is how earlier this year, first term trustee Paula Jacobsen caused a potentially damaging accusation that caused the auditor to investigate that accusation.

One question Jacobson was asked to answer during the audit was:

“In your opinion, are there any areas of operation of the Village that do not receive enough oversight of management or board, or any particular weaknesses in internal controls?” 

Jacobsen checked off “Yes.” As a Trustee, she could have taken the opportunity beforehand to gather specific information and to offer a detailed explanation or perhaps even actual facts, but instead submitted her vague audit questionnaire on March 17, 2019 (perhaps hoping to disrupt the April 2 election?).

Jacobson had a wealth of resources at her disposal for weeks before if she had any questions whatsoever on completing her forms from the audit firm. She could have easily gathered information from the Village Treasurer, Director of Administration, Clerk or even the Trustee assigned to Finance, but she did not avail herself of those ample opportunities according to recordings. She could have provided an answer to the question she was asked instead of repeating an anonymous rumor told to her by some residents.

Instead, when asked why she answered “Yes” to the audit question, her initial answer was:

“While I don’t know that it is considered fraud, but some residents have claimed that contracts are being given to certain members of family of the Board, however, that is not evidence of guilt. I don’t know that we have a clear process to evaluate this if in fact this is happening.   I’m not aware of any contract awarded to a Board member.” 

The first thought that came to our minds upon hearing this was that of an immature four-year-old who answers the question “why did you eat those cookies?” with, “Someone said I could.”

Though asked repeatedly, Jacobson would not, or more probably could not offer any specificity to her unsubstantiated allegation, and at times her answers to Trustees questions on her inexplicable answer changed from one minute or meeting month to another.

For example, before the auditor was asked to read back her answer to the question in the presence of the Board, Jacobsen denied checking the “Yes” box repeatedly. She also denied making any claim or charge of process or fraud issues, and she only began to recant her statements once the village president asked the auditor to read them into the record.

Jacobson also stated on more than one occasion that she understood that her responses to all audit questions were private and would be kept anonymous.   Those wishing to listen to the recording of this exchange can do so by clicking here.

She followed up at the June Board of Trustees meeting by reading a written statement that actually reversed her position in May. She stated she believes that fraud and processes have been violated at the Village, and further she made a secondary allegation that the auditing firm was not independent thereby impugning the reputation of the village treasurer, the independent auditor and the finance chairman Mr. Croll and the Village board.

If this sounds pathetic, it is, and it goes on (and on). Rather than continue with what is basically transcribing her lunacy from recordings, we have a better solution for all involved.

The solution to this problem will be for the village to spend further taxpayer dollars to “investigate” the rumor that someone repeated to Jacobson, and then hopefully follow that by providing educational information to Jacobson on the importance and serious nature of the annual financial audit so that in the future she may confidently answer the audit questionnaire with facts instead of vague, unfounded rumor.

-The Observer

Related: Flip, Flop: What changed your minds Trustees Messer, Meroni, and Selman?  (August 30, 2011)

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