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Archive for the ‘Special Use Permits’ Category

The June meeting agenda of the Zoning Board of Appeals contains a variety of topics, including:

  • Text Amendment – MKES Investments, LLC – “Professional Office Uses.”
  • Al-Azhar Islamic Foundation – 160 Hawthorne Road: Expansion of Parking Lot
  • The Sanfilippo Foundation: Creating a “Charitable Giving Overlay District”
  • Map Amendment – The Sanfilippo Foundation – 789 Plum Tree Road: Rezoning to a “Charitable Giving Overlay District”

A copy of this evening’s agenda, including instructions on participating remotely, can be viewed and downloaded here.

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VBH__LogoThe Village Board will meet on tonight September 25th at 6:30 PM. The agenda and e-Packet can be found here.

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The documents to be discussed during Monday evening’s Zoning Board of Appeals meeting have been posted by the Village.  A PDF copy can be viewed and downloaded here.

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audio_tape_revox_pr99-203 Audio recordings from the February 21st Meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals have been posted to the Village website. To access the main menu of recordings edited by agenda topic, click here.

The meeting began with a public hearing for a special use permit for expansion of an existing artificial lake at 153 Algonquin Road.  Several neighbors expressed concerns about potential impacts to their properties.  The hearing was followed by  a unanimous vote to recommend the special use permit to the Board of Trustees.  The hearing can be heard here.

The next agenda item had been scheduled to be a vote on the special use permit for a proposed boathouse for a residence on Hawley Lake, which had been the subject of a public hearing in January. Chairman Dan Wolfgram informed the ZBA that the petitioner’s request had been withdrawn.

Discussion then turned to a number of topics that the ZBA had begun to consider at last month’s meeting and had determined merited future deliberation.  Village Administrator Bob Kosin began with a description of the process by which a zoning complaint may be registered with the village, and then reviewed the staff procedures to review the complaint and determine if a violation had occurred.  True to form, Kosin’s explanation was difficult to follow at times due to his “unique” style.  Kosin’s narrative can be heard here.

Next, the board considered the matter of who can submit an application for a text amendment to the village’s zoning code.  In recent years, a somewhat vague part of our code has been interpreted to allow any resident potentially affected, directly or indirectly by a zoning matter, to be able to propose a text amendment change.  In the case of commercial horse boarding, this lead to numerous dueling proposals which took up an inordinate amount of the ZBA’s time, not to mention taxpayer money.  Members seemed to be in agreement that a better process might be for residents first to bring up their suggested amendment changes with either a Board of Trustees member or a ZBA member.  The topic was referred to the ZBA’s trustee liaison Colleen Konicek-Hannigan who will present the idea for discussion at an upcoming BOT meeting. That section of the discussion can be heard here.

The ZBA also mulled over the need for either a special use permit or special event permit for residences which play host to numerous and/or large private charitable events.  Members felt that charity events are a hallmark of the generosity of the community, and any efforts to create a more formal permitting process should not be done with the idea to curtail or discourage such events.  As is the case with many issues debated by the ZBA, a balance between the individual property rights of one resident must be balanced with the neighbors’ rights to peaceful enjoyment of their homes. Members decided that they should begin attempting to draft language for review at a future meeting. That portion of the dialogue can be accessed directly by clicking this link.

Finally, Zoning Board members considered the pros and cons of regulating the length of time that contractors’ advertising signs might be allowed to be displayed at a home, and whether or not there needs to be a limit placed on the height of building structures.  Those topics may be found beginning here.

 

 

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The Zoning Board of Appeals will meet on Tuesday February 21st at 6:30 p.m.  Items on the agenda include a public hearing for a special use permit for expansion of a pond  at residence at 153 Algonquin Road, and a vote on the special use permit for a boat house at 61 Otis Road.  The public hearing on the boat house permit was conducted last month.

To see the full agenda and related packet materials, click here .

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audio_tape_revox_pr99-203Audio recordings from the January 17th Zoning Board of Appeals meeting are available for review on the Village website.  Board members had two items on their agenda that evening.

The first item on the agenda was a review of possible agenda topics that the ZBA could take up for consideration at future meetings. Board members were in general agreement that they should at least engage in public discussion and review at a later time to determine:

  • if special use permits should be required for events being held on private properties, as has been suggested in the past by ZBA member David Stieper.
  • if only elected or appointed officials should be allowed to file proposals for zoning text amendments. Currently any village resident can file a text amendment for consideration. Concerns were expressed that continuing with present system could result in excessive expenditure of village resources.
  • if regulation of structure heights should be added to the zoning code. Currently there are floor area ratio and setback restrictions, but heights are not addressed.
  • if new regulations should determine the status of advertising signs put up by building and or landscape contractors on properties where they are currently performing work. Some of these signs tend to almost be permanent fixtures.
  • what are the village’s procedures for follow up of identified zoning violations. Although enforcement is not the role of the ZBA, members expressed a need for clarification of the steps and process by which the Village addresses violations.

The second item on the ZBA agenda was the public hearing for a special use permit for construction of a boathouse for a residence at 61 Otis Road. The construction of the boathouse and pier would project into Hawley Lake, which is privately owned by adjacent homeowners. Testimony was heard from the project’s architect and the applicant homeowner, as well as from neighboring homeowners and the legal representative for three other homeowners who were in opposition to the project.

Concerns were voiced about the blocking of unobstructed lake views, disruption of the neighborhood’s serenity, disruption of the lake’s ecology and and long-maintained natural setting. Neighbors feared that approval of this permit would create a precedent for construction of other boathouses along the lake’s shores, forever changing the character of Hawley Lake.

Although the project seemed, for the most part, to comply technically with the Village’s zoning requirements, members of ZBA expressed concerns about superseding the neighborhood’s homeowner association (HOA) which has a long, albeit informal, tradition of maintaining minimal development and construction around the shared lake.

The ZBA’s attorney, Mary Dickson, advised the ZBA that the HOA can do nothing to prevent this project on their own because the HOA doesn’t have bylaws, hasn’t held an associational meeting, nor is one required. As a result, it is her opinion that it is solely up to the ZBA to determine if this special use is appropriate, and if it should recommend approval to the Board of Trustees.

During deliberations, members of the Zoning Board continued to be troubled about approving the special use permit without having the affirmation of the neighbors, and they expressed a strong desire for the applicants to meet with HOA and neighbors to see if they could work out a new boathouse plan which could satisfy all parties.

The ZBA voted unanimously to continue the consideration of the special use permit until their February 21st meeting.

The standard menu of edited recordings by topic from the meeting is currently not available, but readers may access the recordings at the village’s archiving source by clicking here

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The Observer takes a look back at another year gone by, as we present the most frequently read news stories and editorials for 2016. Click on any title to read and revisit stories from this past year.

August 30th Zoning Board public hearing recordings published

Our most read and most commented upon story of 2016, this article summarized the August 30th Zoning Board meeting which concluded the public hearings on the latest text amendment proposal for commercial horse boarding codes.

WARNING: Beware of phantom developers!

This story discussed a fear-mongering letter that was mailed to residents throughout the  village, containing unsubstantiated claims of Barrington Hills once again being imperiled by greedy developers.

Why Anderson II must go

In October, the Observer reviewed the myriad of flaws in the Anderson II commercial boarding ordinance and explained the importance of reinstating boarding under the Home Occupation Ordinance.

There they go again

Despite the misinformation repeated at many recent meetings, archived Village Board minutes from 1960 show that village leaders then did not approve of commercial equestrian activities on residential properties, having shut down a riding school for being in violation of village code.  This feature also drew the second most comments of any story for 2016.

June Village Board Meeting Recordings Released

Our review of the Board of Trustees June meeting covered several topics, but focused primarily on the ongoing delays with the reconstruction of the Cuba Road Bridge (now known as Veteran’s Crossing Bridge).  The article highlighted the lack of proper oversight of the project by Gewalt Hamilton, as well as some confusing explanations of the situation by Village Administrator Bob Kosin.

Here we go again

As the Zoning Board of Appeals was about to begin a review of the commercial horse boarding code, the Observer dispelled a long list of oft-repeated fallacies, fictions and lies concerning equestrian activities and horse boarding in this column from July.

Candidates file for April 2017 Village Elections

The title speaks for itself in this most recent top story, highlighting the high level of resident interest in our village government.

Park District to begin charging user fees for Riding Center

The July announcement by the Park District of its intention to set up a fee structure for resident and n0n-resident users of the Riding Center drew a large audience.

Documents added to ZBA horse boarding code hearing package

In the days leading up to the August 30th ZBA meeting, readers were eager to review the 291 pages of documentation that had been submitted to the Zoning Board in the form of court documents, resident and Village official emails, affidavits, Village engineering and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency reports and form letters.

 

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The Zoning Board of Appeals will be holding a special meeting this evening at 6:30 PM at Countryside Elementary School to hold a public hearing on a text amendment proposal to the Village zoning codes related to commercial horse boarding.

A copy of the proposed text amendment can be viewed here, and a copy of the agenda for the meeting can be viewed here.

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Audio recordings from the October 17th regular monthly meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals held at Countryside Elementary School have been posted to the Village website.  The link to the menu of recordings edited by agenda topic can be accessed here.

Six people made public comments, though three of them were allowed to speak twice, causing the public comment portion of the agenda to last about 45 minutes (and since the chair was very liberal when it came to the traditional 3 minute time limit per comment).

The developer of Barrington Hills Farm (BHF) was the first to ask to speak for a second time, but before he began his additional remarks, the chair asked him a question:

“In a letter you sent out to the entire village a month or two ago [seen here], in the letter there’s a statement that ‘some months ago a clique of area residents, a clique of area residents associated with high density housing development initiated a subtle but strategic campaign to defeat and dismantle the statutory defenses that preserve the character of the village of Barrington Hills.’  What were you talking about?”

The speaker replied, “There is a [sic] intentional direction at undermining and changing the village’s comprehensive plan.  To change the comprehensive plan will change the density allowances for construction going forward.”

When asked for further definition of specifically whom the speaker was referring to in his letter, after some obfuscation he stated, “I’m not one for circulating misinformation.  I will document it.”

We’re looking forward to it, as we’re confident our readers do as well.  In the meantime, we highly recommend readers listen to this candid exchange by clicking here.

The second resident to speak twice (and who also happens to be involved in the BHF development) offered to answer the chair’s question.  He stated:

“The question as I understood it, and I think it is a legitimate question, is basically is there a group that is trying to change the comprehensive plan, and are they meeting.  And I can tell you categorically yes they are meeting, and here’s the change that is contemplated.

The change, and this is documented in written communications that’s been sent out on The Observer, which I think you write [apparently referring to one of the ZBA members], and in other publications, that basically we want to alter the characterization of Barrington Hills from an equestrian community to a residential community.

Now, as Mr. Stieper knows, and as probably everyone on the board knows, changing that characterization from an equestrian community, which has been embedded in the comprehensive plan since the beginning of Barrington Hills, and as I said at a previous meeting, uh,  I was there at the start with the founder of Barrington Hills as an equestrian community.”

We recommend readers listen to this speaker’s full remarks as well as his dialog with board members by clicking here.

We also look forward to his commitment to follow up on his statements with documentation, particularly as they relate to Barrington Hills comprehensive plans.  A searchable copy of the 1978 Comprehensive Plan that was in place for 27 years can be viewed and downloaded here, however it is devoid of anything remotely substantiating his claims.

Prior to the chair closing public comment, a ZBA member questioned the clerk regarding the procedure for timely inclusion of written comments in document packets to board members prior to meetings, since one submitted the morning of the meeting was excluded, yet another from that afternoon from the BHF developer was.  The recording of that exchange can be heard here.

Recordings of all public comments made that night can be heard by clicking here, however, the first speaker is nearly inaudible.

When public comment concluded, the board began nearly two hours of discussion regarding the proposal to repeal Anderson II/LeCompte Anderson codes and revert back to Home Occupation Ordinance oversight of horse boarding facilities as an interim step before pursuing brand new codes addressing all scales of facilities in Barrington Hills.

The chair seemed to follow a rather “belt and suspenders” path throughout the discussion sometimes asking the same question of members two times.  Perhaps he considers this being thorough, but in no instance did he receive a different response to the second question than from the first.

Member Stieper provided his thoughts when asked about the deficiencies in the Anderson II language after which he asked Bob Kosin, Village Administrator, for his opinion regarding his account, particularly as it related to Floor Area Ratio codes for the primary residence on a property versus an accessory structure such as a boarding barn.

Kosin stated, “The floor area requirements are, ah, are established and they do reflect a residential basis and they’re cumulative.  So essentially what you are, um, saying is that the existing bulk regulations, the existing bulk regulations, do not give you sufficient guidelines to regulate what you’re attempting to address as large-scale commercial boarding. 

So you have a use before you and you have a series of tools in the tool box, in the zoning tool box, and the existing standards, whether it be setback, or the floor area ratio, is insufficient as a matter of right to curtail some type of jeopardy to the adjoining property owners or the community as a whole.”

Granted, we are not fully fluent in “Kosin-speak,” however we believe we understand what he is politically treading lightly on with his response as we illustrated in, “Why Anderson II must go.”  Mr. Kosin’s remarks can be heard here.

When the roll was called two of the five Zoning Board members present voted against advancing the proposal to repeal Anderson II and three voted in favor.  A public hearing on the matter when testimony will be under oath was then scheduled for November 9th at Countryside Elementary School beginning at 6:30 PM.

The agenda and documentation will be published here when available prior to the meeting.

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Following are some of the articles published by The Observer for the month of October in recent years. These articles, gathered from various publications and editorials, are noteworthy for residents in that they remind us of where we’ve been as a community.

August 2011 Village Board minutes posted – 2011

Excerpt from ZBA report: “Three members of the Zoning Board of Appeals, Judith Freeman, Karen Rosene and Kurt Anderson, joined the Board of Trustees in the discussion of commercial boarding.  Ms. Freeman submitted a draft ordinance document regarding commercial boarding and wanted comments back from the Board of Trustees. The ZBA has proposed suggested [sic] a Special Use Permit if boarding ten or more horses.

Trustee Messer felt the Village has no overcrowding issue and we should address the issue when it comes up.  Trustee Meroni felt a Special Use Permit was an unnecessary burden.   Trustee Selman stated that horse boarding should be under Home Occupation.” (see Flip, Flop : What changed your minds Trustees Messer, Meroni and Selman?)

Complete minutes from the August 2011 Village Board meeting can be viewed here.

Developer to sell McHenry County land near Barrington Hills – 2013

A 602-acre property, most of which was disconnected from Barrington Hills during a long, intense legal fight that began early last decade, is being put up for sale by its would-be developer.  The Fritz Duda Co. is asking for $17 million for the jaggedly bordered undeveloped land at Spring Creek and Haegers Bend roads in McHenry County, along Barrington Hills’ border with Algonquin.

Read the Daily Herald story here.

Glimpses back in time at the heritage of Barrington Hills – 2015

VBH Area Map Circa 1940In the years since The Observer began, we’ve been fortunate enough to accumulate some information on the rich history that occurred before and after Barrington Hills was officially incorporated in 1957.  Today seemed to be an appropriate time to share what we’ve discovered with our readers in advance of the third annual Barrington Hills Heritage Fest taking place tomorrow.

Some time ago, a reader shared a map with us depicting what life was like in this area in 1940, and it’s quite a unique contrast from the village we now live in today.

Revisit this well-read article from last year by here.

To settle, or not to settle, that is (not) the question – 2015

We’ve had the opportunity to listen to the recordings from the September 23rd Special Village Board Meeting to hear public comment on whether to settle a suit filed against the Village over the Recent Commercial Horse Boarding code amendment.  Additionally, we’ve read all the published written comments which were submitted (seen here).

Thirty-nine people provided comments for the board to review.  None of them criticized horses, nor did they call for banning boarding in Barrington Hills.  No one called for existing horse boarding operations to be shuttered, and not one complaint was voiced against a neighboring barn, so it’s fair to say current boarding operations (save for one) are not in peril in Barrington Hills based on this small sampling.

Read the original Observer editorial here.

-The Observer

*See “WARNING: Beware of phantom developers!” for more on this year’s Halloween costume of choice among Barrington Hills youths.

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