A-LAW Arising

During the spring elections in the rural parts of McHenry, DeKalb and Boone Counties and a couple of cities in DeKalb, a McHenry County-based group called A-LAW pushed for the creation of a water authority.

The Alliance for Land, Agriculture and Water was a real threat to developers and municipalities because the Kishwaukee Valley Water Authority would have had the power to approve or disapprove larger wells.

The referendum was defeated handily, but A-LAW’s core of supporters has apparently retained its concern for water policy.

Pat Kennedy spoke on its behalf before Crystal Lake city officials on the watershed and McHenry County College’s proposal to cover up to 50% of its land with impervious material.

All of this leads me to the following press release from A-LAW:

Alliance for Land, Agriculture and Water Objects to McHenry County Community College Expansion Plan

The Alliance for Land, Agriculture and Water (A-LAW) objects to McHenry County Community College (MCC)’s Petition for Approval of Preliminary PUD and Special Use. If granted as proposed, it would have a deleterious effect on the quantity and quality of the area’s groundwater resources.

We object to MCC’s plan and requested relief from Crystal Lake’s watershed ordinance because it would allow coverage of over 50% of its present and future holdings with impervious surfaces (including a minor league baseball stadium with a 20 acre parking lot) without considering available viable alternatives.

The proposed site is within that part of the Crystal Lake Watershed in which impervious surface coverage should be held to 20% in order to protect the recharge of the aquifer that sustains Crystal Lake.

Granting an exception to this long established ordinance is unjustified and unnecessary. It would set a precedent for future land conversions along Route 14 that would adversely affect the area’s groundwater supplies.

A-LAW has extensively studied the effects of poor planning on the aquifers underlying the tri-county area of McHenry, Boone and DeKalb Counties, in particular land uses that have resulted in water shortages looming in the eastern half of McHenry County. Now is the time for developers to consider protection of the aquifers as an integral part of the planning process.

As you know, water sustainability is becoming a critical issue in Illinois, with political ramifications. This is a decision that will affect future generations.

A public educational institution like McHenry County Community College should be held to the highest standard of stewardship within the watershed.

We appeal to MCC to reconsider the long-term adverse consequences of their request and we urge both the Crystal Lake City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission to consider these consequences and deny the relief requested.

A letter of similar content was sent to the members of Crystal Lake’s Planning and Zoning Commission and read aloud by A-LAW President Pat Kennedy at Wednesday night’s meeting.

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The dripping faucet was A-LAW’s symbol during the Kishwaukee Valley Water Authority campaign. Although Crystal Lake was not included in the plan, you can see a bit A-LAW sign at the intersection of Routes 14 and 176 next to the Tweeter going out of business sign. I spotted it the weekend before the election.

Pat Kennedy is seen reading A-LAW’s letter to the Crystal Lake Planning and Zoning Commission on September 5th.

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