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audio_tape_revox_pr99-203Audio recordings from the July 24th, 2017 meeting of the Board of Trustees have been posted. To access the menu of recordings edited by agenda item, click here.

Most of the brief meeting consisted of routine business, but, again, property owned by Barrington Hills Farm LLC (BHFarm) provided the most interesting fodder for discussion.  As we mentioned previously, the owner(s) of the unoccupied property at 2400 Spring Creek Road had been cited for demolition of a residence without a building permit and for removal of two posted Stop Work Order signs. Additionally, many trees and much vegetation had been removed without a permit required under the village’s Heritage Tree Ordinance.

Trustee Colleen Konicek asked Administrator Bob Kosin for an update on the situation.  The issue of the removal of the Stop Work Order signs is currently in the hands of the village prosecutor, and the courts will be left to determine if the violation did take place, and what fines, if any, should be imposed.  Kosin went on to state that the necessary demolition permit had now been obtained, albeit AFTER the fact, and that according to the demolition contractor, none of the work to remove the debris from the demolition of the 2900 sq. ft. home had required an overweight permit.  Trustee Brian Cecola strongly questioned the notion that a residence of that size could be taken down without the need for an overweight permit.  Konicek pressed the issue further, asking Kosin what evidence had been provided that an overweight permit had not been required? Kosin was forced to admit there was no evidence, just the word of the contractor. We wonder how many other residents would be afforded this same benefit of the doubt.

On the issue of the trees that had been removed, Kosin stated that the Village’s tree contractor had been sent out, and he determined that no heritage trees had been lost or jeopardized on the site, again AFTER the fact, and that the property owner had been appropriately billed (and paid ) for the arborist’s inspection fee. Kosin expressed supreme confidence in the arborist’s psychic abilities to determine the species of trees which had been removed, without ever having seen them.  We don’t quite understand how this was possible — perhaps he conducted a DNA analysis of the sawdust residue?

President Martin McLaughlin expressed concern about the objectivity of the arborist, Chuck Stewart, who had performed the study of the property, because Stewart rents office space in a building owned by one of the members of the board of Barrington Hills Farm. Trustee Michelle Maison was also troubled by this perceived conflict of interest and inquired if another independent tree analysis should be conducted.

McLaughlin then brought up the issue of the deannexation request (dated July 17, 2017) for 2400 Spring Creek Road. Back in the fall, the trust controlling BHFarm had expressed interest in annexing ALL of the former Duda property back into the Village during a friendly 2 1/2 hour staff meeting during which the village outlined two timelines to complete the annexation petition process. He found it odd that first they wanted to annex into the village, and now they want to annex out of the village. He also reminded the new Board members about the trust’s previous request for an easement for its proposed HARPS facility (which still has not broken ground).  The trust had wanted an easement, requested it, constructed the legal documents for it, and when the Board agreed to it, the trust wanted the easement out.

McLaughlin described how the Village has gone out of its way to say “yes” numerous times to requests by BHFarm, and explained how the Village has tried to work with the individuals representing BHFarm, only to have the trust change their minds about things that they themselves had asked for.  He likened dealing with the BHFarm trust as doing the Hokey Pokey — they want the easement in, they want the easement out, they want to annex in, they want to annex out. All of it, he said, amounted to much silliness, and in our opinion, wasting of board and staff time, not to mention taxpayer dollars.

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Doing the annexation hokey pokey

Trustee Paula Jacobsen wondered why the village couldn’t have employed a warmer and fuzzier process to inform the property owner of their violation of the cease and desist order, perhaps by placing a personal phone call. Jacobsen was either playing dumb in thinking that property owners’ phone numbers are listed on property deeds, or perhaps she was pandering to BHFarm’s board which is headed by a prominent donor to her recent trustee campaign. Her point seemed to be that the property owner was not being treated in a neighborly manner, despite the fact that the only publicly available contact information is an street address in Chicago. Never did she place any onus on the property owner who apparently assumed that it was okay to knock down a house without consulting the municipal authorities in advance. Maybe she has never heard of the expression “ignorance of the law is no excuse”?

And, if the village had gone to extreme lengths to track down a telephone number in this particular instance, wouldn’t that create a dangerous precedent for the village’s future contacts with other property owners?  AND, does Jacobsen really believe that the contractor(s) who removed the trees and demolished the residence didn’t inform their employer of the Stop Work Order?

Those conversations can be heard here.

Later in the meeting, during discussion of the disconnection petition itself, Village Attorney Mary Dickson described the legal requirements for disconnection and confirmed that the subject property meets all of them. However, the village cannot act on such a petition sooner than 30 days after receiving it, and, as a result, the attorney will prepare an ordinance for possible action at the next Board meeting in August.

Dickson cautioned that any penalties regarding the cease and desist order violation pending in court should be resolved and that any other monies due to the Village should be paid PRIOR to the Board of Trustees taking final action on BHFarm’s petition.

Jacobsen continued to puzzle over the reason for the disconnection request into unincorporated McHenry County, and asked if the petitioner would be making a presentation to the Board explaining the reasons for the disconnection.  Dickson explained that no such presentation is legally necessary.  (We suggest that Jacobsen pick up the telephone a place a neighborly phone call if she wants to quench her curiosity.) Attorney Dickson opined that maybe developmental rights are the reason, and perhaps the best prospects for the owner’s desired development of the property may lie with the county rather than the village. We’d say that Ms. Dickson hit the nail on the head with that assessment.

The disconnection discussion can be heard here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 11.21.41 AM On Sunday August 13th, Village of Barrington Hills & the Barrington Hills Park District, 361 Bateman Road,  is hosting our heritage festival. This year’s event promises to be another spectacular day!

As always the purpose of the festival is to bring Barrington Hills residents together for a day of fun, and to highlight the organizations and activities that make our community unique. This year we have also partnered with the Honor Ride & Run to celebrate our nation’s heroes.

Last year over 500 residents attended our heritage festival to celebrate our community and our neighbors. We hope to see you all again for this family oriented, fun filled day! Arrive at 11am to cheer on the recovering Veterans as they cross the finish line.

Honor Ride

To read the full announcement from the Village of Barrington Hills website, click here.

honor_2 Steve Gray, a Coast Guard veteran who fell 30 feet in a 1983 shipboard accident and suffered brain and neck injuries, drove from his home in Kansas City last year to participate in a Barrington event that has been making a difference in the lives of veterans for seven years.

The Barrington Honor Ride & Run (BHRR), a non-competitive cycling event where active service members, injured veterans, first responders, and the public come together to raise crucial, life-changing funds in support of Project Hero’s local programs, will be held this year on Sunday, August 13.

Gray will be there again this year in what he says was a “life changing” event. “If it weren’t for me riding with the veterans, I’d probably be in a wheel chair now,” he explains. “My condition had been getting worse and worse. Now if I didn’t ride I’d be stiff legged and could not even get around. That Honor Ride in Barrington is where it all got started for me.”

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Brothers and sisters Mark Konicek, Colleen Konicek, and Katie Konicek
Karam have organized the Barrington event from its inception.

For a donation, you can ride, run, or walk with them. Walk a mile on your own, or bike for 47. This year’s event will feature three bike distances (10, 30 or 50 miles) through the Barrington’s idyllic scenery, and a trail run and fun walk through Spring Lake Forest Preserve.  If past events provide prologue, the day will be high-spirited civic affirmation of duty and thankfulness, though designed to do far more than engender sentiment.

It’s a day of literal healing…

The 7th annual BHRR will take place August 13 at the Barrington Hills Park District with opening ceremonies—including the Operation “Wild Horse” Mounted Color Guard—at 8 a.m. The bike, run, and walk culminate in a community festival of fun for the whole family as BHRR joins forces with Barrington Hills’ 5th annual heritage festival, “The Hills Are Alive.” Enjoy free food and music, free activities, and games for the whole family. Participants can register online or donate at honorridebarrington.com. Veterans ride for free.

You can read the full feature article in Barrington Country magazine here.

PlumFarmAerial A group of South Barrington residents has filed a lawsuit against a developer and the village of Hoffman Estates in an attempt to stop the controversial Plum Farms development proposal at the northwest corner of routes 59 and 72.  The 127-page document filed Thursday in Cook County circuit court seeks declaratory judgment, injunction and other relief against plans to build single-family houses on a 145-acre parcel previously disconnected from Barrington Hills.

The 145-acre parcel is the largest portion of a total 185-acre development plan that would also include multifamily housing and commercial development. While Barrington Hills requires a minimum of 5 acres per lot, the density of the Plum Farms development would be much higher under new zoning approved by Hoffman Estates officials this spring.

The plaintiffs in the suit are more than 30 residents of the Regency at the Woods of South Barrington subdivision, an age-restricted retirement community immediately across Route 59 from the development site.

To read the full article in the Daily Herald, click here.

 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.

 

The Barrington Hills Park District recently issued two recent press releases, one concerning renovation of the tennis courts at Countryside School, and the other announcing a survey being conducted by the Horsemen’s Council of Illinois.

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Tennis Courts Temporarily Closed for Renovation

The Barrington Hills Park District tennis courts located at Countryside School are closed for major renovation.
The courts will be resurfaced and a new 30-foot seating area for viewing will be constructed. The project is scheduled for completion in late August.
We will provide updates on construction and official reopening.
The BATA summer tennis program will be relocated to Barrington High School during construction.

Horsemen’s Council of Illinois Survey
If you own a horse, ride a horse, provide services to the horse community, sell horse related products, or teach equine science, let your voice be heard.
Take the online Horsemen’s Council of Illinois Survey: http://bit.ly/2rYi6Fg
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Note: The Observer finds it interesting the Park District to whom the majority of Barrington Hills residents pay property taxes is promoting a survey by a private special interest group using their own advertising messages and slogans.

 

VBH__Logo The Village Board will meet on Monday July 24th at 6:30 PM. The agenda can be viewed here and the e-Packet can be found here. Of special note is a petition for de-annexation of 2400 Spring Creek Road, owned by Barrington Hills Farms, which was cited in recent building enforcement reports for demolition of a residence without a permit and possible violation of the Heritage Tree Ordinance.