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Archive for the ‘Your Barrington Hills’ Category

We are pleased to announce the recipient of the 2017 Shining Star Award — Barrington Hills Police Chief Richard Semelsberger. Chief Semelsberger epitomizes the very best in a public safety professional, and the residents of our village are very fortunate to have such a dedicated individual at the helm of our Police Department.

2017ShiningStar

Chief Semelsberger is well-known to many in the community, having started as a patrolman in 1989, and rising through the ranks over the last 28 years.  Having worked under four of the nine previous village chiefs of police, Rich became Deputy Chief in 2011, eventually becoming Chief of Police in March 2015, after the retirement of Chief Michael Murphy.

He is respected and well-liked by officers in his department, and works easily with our elected officials, village hall staff, and attorneys.  A familiar face to many, Rich is in attendance at each annual Hills Are Alive Heritage Fest, where he can be seen engaged in friendly conversation with village residents.

Over the years, Semelsberger has continually impressed us with his vast knowledge of the department’s operating budget during Board of Trustee meetings, always having the appropriate facts and figures when questioned by board members.  But what has been the most striking recently has been his active participation in many other discussions during Board Meetings.  Whether the topic was the somewhat controversial outsourcing of our 911 Dispatch services to QuadCom, or the purchase of a new phone system for the Village Hall, it was obvious that Semelsberger had studied the issues very carefully and had an intimate understanding of all of the pros and cons.

The Chief’s low-key yet highly effective style was most notably on display in early 2017 when he set the record straight on the many of facts surrounding the village’s CTY alert system, police staffing levels, and the false accusations of discontinuation of the police non-emergency number.  These issues had been raised during the months leading up to the April 2017 Election by the “Your Barrington Hills” slate and their supporters.  Despite the highly political atmosphere that had been created, Semelsberger calmly and clearly refuted the unfounded allegations one-by-one in a decidedly nonpartisan and straightforward manner that left little doubt what the facts were.  See these Observer articles for more detail: All the world’s a stageApril 24th Board meeting recordings released, and Regime revived?

Our village is indeed lucky to have such a fine man as Richard Semelsberger fully committed to serving and protecting our homes and families.  We commend the Chief for his leadership of our award-winning Police Department, and for making our community safe each and every day.  Thank you from the residents and from all of us at the Observer!

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 Audio recordings from the May 23rd and June 26th 2017 meetings of the Board of Trustees have been posted. To access the menu of recordings for May edited by agenda item, click here.

To access the menu of recordings for June edited by agenda item, click this link.

The majority of the agenda points discussed at both meetings were routine, so we will instead direct your attention to a number of interesting non-agenda topics which produced the most fireworks.

  • Permit violations lead to disconnection request? Or “I was for it before I was against it”?As described during the May Board of Trustees meeting, the village had received several complaints regarding unauthorized tree removal with possible Heritage Tree Ordinance violations taking place, as well as the demolition of a 2943 sq. ft residence at 2400 Spring Creek Road without a demolition permit. The property was previously owned by the late Barbara MacArthur and had been sold to the trust which owns Barrington Hills Farms on March 24, 2017.

    The Village twice posted a Stop Work notice on the site and this notice was later removed twice, by persons unknown. Apparently, continued site activity has been taking place without permit on the property, in violation of the stop work order. The property owner could be subject to a fine of $750.00 per day if found guilty in  court.  As of the June 26 meeting, there had been no response received by the Village from the owner.

    Trustees Paula Jacobsen and Bob Zubak chose not to participate in the discussion of the violations. Perhaps that was because the individual controlling ownership of the property was a large contributor to “Your Barrington Hills”, the committee that backed the campaign of Jacobsen and Zubak in the April Village election?

    Interestingly, and perhaps not coincidentally, the new property owner has now submitted a petition dated July 17, 2017 for disconnection of said property from the Village, which is being presented for consideration by the Board of Trustees at its July meeting tomorrow. Strangely, the chairman of Barrington Hills Farms had previously indicated during several public meetings his desire to bring the trust’s significant acreage contiguous to the cited property back into the Village.

    We wonder, are building and zoning regulations less stringent in McHenry County, or are there other more compelling reasons for disconnection?

    Discussion of the permit violations during the May meeting can be heard starting here. The follow-up conversation during the June meeting is found by clicking this link . (We would also direct listeners to pay special attention to Adminstrator Bob Kosin’s evasive answers when questioned about ownership of the property and the penalties for demolition of a residence without a permit.)

  • Were village email lists compromised during the last election?  The discussion from May can be heard here.
  • Misrepresentation of the handling of after hours police non-emergency calls? . Chief Semelsberger’s refutation of one resident’s assertions can be heard here.
  • One acre zoning for unincorporated McHenry parcels falsely stated by resident?  That discussion can be found here.
  • Slanderous remarks during public comments will not be tolerated by Board of Trustees.  We urge our readers to listen to this clip.

 

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 Audio recordings from the April 24, 2017 meeting of the Board of Trustees have been posted. To access the menu of recordings edited by agenda item, click here.

The meeting began with service awards being presented to outgoing Trustees Fritz Gohl and Mike Harrington.  President Martin McLaughlin very graciously acknowledged the service and work provided to the village by these two individuals over their terms.  His words were particularly diplomatic towards the latter, considering the highly critical vitriolic speeches that Harrington routinely directed towards McLaughlin. Those diplomatic remarks by the President, as well as Gohl’s unnecessary parting shot of  “don’t F* up the five acre zoning”, can be heard here.

Next, one speaker, Kristina Anderson, made public comment on two issues, and due to the very inflammatory and accusatory nature of her remarks, we have transcribed them  in full at the end of this article.  You can listen for yourself here.  Apparently, in the eyes of the equestrian extremists loyal to the former village president, campaigning for the 2019 Election has already begun, continuing on the false narrative presented by the newly elected Your Barrington Hills trustees — Paula Jacobsen and Bob Zubak — during this year’s election cycle.

During the Finance portion of the meeting, the hiring of a part-time permit coordinator for the Building Department was discussed.  Village resident Nikki Panos was hired last month after interviewing with the Personnel Committee, Village Administrator Bob Kosin, Village Clerk Anna Paul and Ken Garrett from the Building Department.

It was explained that the Village’s Building Code Enforcement Officer Ken Garrett had been devoting 30-40% of his time in the office, mainly performing filing duties, and was being compensated at the rate of $100/hour.  The new permit coordinator is being paid $20/hour, creating a substantial cost savings to the village, and allowing Garrett to spend more productive time in the field. It was further explained that having a resident as coordinator is beneficial, as there is less of a learning curve for an employee who already understands the complexities of the village and has a better familiarity of obscure village roads, etc.

In the Public Safety portion of the meeting, Trustee Brian Cecola complimented the Police Department on its successful use of the Village’s reverse-911 alerts in helping inform residents about a missing fifth-grade girl earlier in the month.

Chief Semelsberger addressed the aforementioned public commenter’s complaints regarding the supposed discontinuation of the non-emergency police phone number.  He explained that Monday-Friday, from 8 AM-4PM, the police non-emergency number, (847) 551-3006, is the same as it has always been, and then after-hours, the QuadCom non-emergency number should be used.  Either way, dispatchers answer the phone, press a button on their console and are able to direct police to the person’s home.  If (847) 551-3006 is called after-hours, the caller receives a message giving them the QuadCom non-emergency number which is (847) 428-8784. The Chief expressed satisfaction with the operation of the system and stressed that a non-emergency number is always available to residents, in addition to 911 services. Readers can listen to the full discussion by clicking this link.

During the Planning section, President McLaughlin refuted the commenter’s allegations about the lack of Barrington Hills’ leadership being involved in the ongoing Hoffman Estates development battle.  He described that he has personally attended three public meetings.  Trustee Michelle Maison has, in fact, also attended and presented at a public meeting, as well as  participated in a pre-meeting with representatives of School District 220 and District 300 to plan joint strategies to address the Hoffman Estates annexation/development of the Iatarola property at the northwest corner of Routes 72 & 59. Adminstrator Kosin has also participated in a number of meetings.  McLaughlin described the current attempt to amend the existing pre-annexation agreement dating back to 2004, back when the property was originally de-annexed from Barrington Hills.  He complimented Ms. Anderson’s involvement in advocating for a group of citizens, but was very clear that her perception of lack of involvement on the part of the village board or administration is completely unfounded and she should know better because she personally was in attendance at meetings where McLaughlin, Maison and Kosin all presented remarks.  In addition, he reminded the public that many meetings and discussions have taken place in between public meetings with school district representatives and various attorneys from the villages involved.

McLaughlin further expressed that Barrington Hills is operating from a deficit position, legally speaking, as our village does not have a boundary agreement with Hoffman Estates, unlike South Barrington which does. However, due to our good relationship with South Barrington, the village has been permitted to sit in on meetings with them and to provide input representing our village’s interests.  (It should be noted that Barrington Hills approached Hoffman Estates in 2013 and 2014 concerning a border agreement, but Hoffman Estates expressed no interest in such an agreement.)  McLaughlin also described the united front that D220 & D300 are presenting to the proposed development.

McLaughlin also addressed Anderson’s allegation that members of the board may have personal interests in the Iatorola development, stating ” I have no idea where that’s coming from”. He further described his good working relationship and open lines of communication with Hoffman Estates Mayor Bill McLeod.  And the board members all scoffed at the insinuation that anyone was in favor of eliminating five acre zoning.

The Planning portion of the meeting can be heard here in its entirety.  Unfortunately, Ms. Anderson had exited the meeting after making her remarks, so she heard none of the corrections to her unfounded inflammatory comments.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Good evening, I’m Kristina Anderson. I live at ### here in the beautiful village of Barrington Hills. Before I get to the main reason why I’m here tonight, I want…seeing the Chief, I just wanted to comment, maybe someone has already said this to you guys the residents really miss the police non-emergency number. We loved it. When something would happen that we didn’t deem a life and death emergency but, you know, they’re back on Healy setting off fireworks or things like this, the ability to call our own police and report it and have them come out and deal with it was fantastic. So I don’t know how much of a cost savings was achieved by getting rid of it, but if it’s a buck or five bucks a household I think most residents would pay it. So I would urge you to reconsider that. If there is a logistical problem to not having it that I don’t know, forgive me. But if there is a way to put it back in, residents loved it and residents miss it. We love our police they do an awesome job. We don’t want to put them to more work than we should, but when they are available to come out on the non-emergency calls, they deal with um problems before the problem gets worse. And that’s really nice.

But why I’m really here tonight, is in fact, to talk about the five acre zoning and to see if am some of the trustees and/or President McLaughlin can take up the cause of the Hoffman Estates development. As you know the continued zoning meeting over there is tonight. I don’t know if any of you are going or you’re sending your village lawyer, which I would strongly urge you to do. Because South Barrington is sending their village lawyers. They sent them last week …their mayor, their trustees, their village engineer, and is really stepping up. And I’d really like to see Barrington Hills step up in the same way and fight for our residents on the issue of five acre zoning, which becomes threatened the more dense developments we have on our borders. As we build more and more dense developments on the borders, super dense, crazy dense like this one which even Hoffman Estates says is unprecedented in its density, we then create the opportunity for people to feather in from the village, have 2 ac… you know, a quarter acre, a half an acre, one acre, two acres, and we shrink the village down into its central little nugget as we do that.

And we know that the Hills & Dales Duchossois property, the Cressey property, are zoned already by McHenry County for less than five acres. Some of you guys may want that, some of you guys might be realtors, or real estate owners or developers. Some of you guys may have a personal connection to Mr. Iatarola or his family, or those investments. We know there are people in the community that do and want to protect their investments and I would urge you guys to disclose that – if you have interests in the Iatarola property or have interests in seeing the village go to less than five-acre zoning. But I would also urge you guys, if you’re committed to five acre zoning, to tell us all that you are committed to five acre zoning, say that publicly, that you’re going to fight for it, and then really step up and fight for it because this is the way to keep the village the way that it is. And I don’t think any of you want Barrington Hills to be South Barrington or Hoffman Estates. Those are great communities but those aren’t the ones we moved to.

So, I speak for many, many people who couldn’t be here tonight and who are members of the group is opposing the Hoffman development. We are concerned about that and the impact upon the village, the traffic, the schools, all of it. Public safety, um, the truth is that no one knows what that development is going to look like and no one knows if it’s going to be fancy or low-income housing. We don’t know, we really don’t know and so its really important that we fight for the village and its safety and security, and to make sure, as we move forward, the Oak Knoll property that’s fifty acres, the Duchossois property if that eventually goes, we don’t want to see those become high density too and this sets a dangerous precedent. So, I speak for the residents in urging you guys to continue to fight this.

 

 

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VBH__LogoThe Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting on Tuesday May 2nd at 6:30 PM to swear in the recently elected village officials.  Trustee committee appointments will also be made.  The full agenda can be viewed here.

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McLElection

Seeing a victory on election day, Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin said his new term will build on past initiatives in the village.

But the future is less clear in the race for trustee spots on the Barrington Hills Village Board with only one apparent winner — incumbent Colleen Konicek Hannigan — emerging among a crowded field of seven candidates. Hannigan campaigned alongside McLaughlin this year, who faced a challenge from first-time candidate Louis Iacovelli for the seat of village president.

McLaughlin captured 53.1 percent of vote in the race, based on unofficial results from Cook, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties. Iacovelli captured 46.9 percent of the vote.

In a twist, the slate of trustee candidates that campaigned with Iacovelli appeared to capture the two other trustee seats that were open this election year, although less than five votes separate apparent winners Paula Jacobsen and Robert Zubak with independent trustee candidate Matt Vondra, who appears to have finished fourth in the trustee race, based on unofficial results.

To read the full story in the Barrington Courier-Review, click here.

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Colleen Konicek-Hannigan

 The Barrington Hills village board race remained too close to call Wednesday, according to the unofficial vote count.

Even after a handful of additional ballots were counted in Cook County, just four votes separate challengers Paula Jacobsen, Robert M. Zubak and Matthew Vondra for second through fourth place.

Six candidates vied for three open seats on the board, and so far the only clear winner is incumbent Colleen Konicek Hannigan, who received 537 votes.

Rounding out the race were challenger Ralph Sesso, with 403 votes, and incumbent Elaine M. Ramesh, with 398.

All of the precincts in Lake, Cook, Kane and McHenry counties are accounted for but there still could be votes left from early voting, mail-in ballots and provisional ballots.

To read the story in the Daily Herald, click here.

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Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 7.44.14 PM Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin defeated challenger Louis Iacovelli Tuesday and earned a second term in office by a margin of 68 votes, according to unofficial totals.

The results in the race to fill three spots on the village board were even tighter. Incumbent Colleen Konicek Hannigan, who got 537 votes, is the only sure winner. Just four votes separate challengers Robert M. Zubak, Paula Jacobsen and Matthew Vondra for second through fourth place. Zubak has 488 votes, Jacobsen 487 and Vondra 484.

Rounding out the board race were challenger Ralph Sesso with 401 votes and incumbent Elaine M. Ramesh with 397.

McLaughlin got 556 votes, 53.2 percent of the total, and Iacovelli got 488, around 46.8 percent.

All of the precincts in Lake, Cook, Kane and McHenry counties are accounted for but there still could be votes left to count from early voting, mail-in ballots.

To read the entire Daily Herald article, click here.

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