Shepley Scratching Head Over Park District Desire for Second Opinion on Watershed Manual

Maybe you would be scratching your head, too, if you were Mayor Aaron Shepley.

In Jim Butts’ Northwest Herald story, Shepley says,

“As a taxpayer, I’m kind of scratching my head on that one. I don’t think it’s a judicious use of resources to go down that path, but they can do that if they want.”

He calls the action “second guess(ing)” Gary Schaefer’s Hey and Associates watershed manual. Schaefer has long worked advised both the park district and the city.

Most people know that Shepley works for Centegra Health Systems.

In health care, getting a second opinion is commonplace when serious operations are contemplated.

Surely, no one would suggest that covering a lot the watershed with development is not a serious change.

The Crystal Lake Park District is paying Burke Engineering $6,600 for a review of the watershed manual.

As Butts’ quotes Commissioner Jerry Sullivan:

“The reason we are hiring [an outside expert] is to know anything we’re not seeing in this manual. We’re concerned about the environmental aspect of it.”

I don’t know about you, but that sounds completely reasonable to me, considering council missteps in zoning what can be built in the watershed could ruin our 16,000-year old glacial lake.

Perhaps Shepley has been scratching his head since his city council refused to go along with his desire to approve the watershed manual Tuesday night without the inclusion of enforcement, monitoring and financing mechanisms in place…or even, heaven forbid, an actual plan of what development might look like in Crystal Lake’s watershed–the latter suggested by former Crystal Lake Planning and Zoning Commissioner Brett Hopkins.

Watching Shepley lose control of the meeting when council members Jeff Thorsen, Ellen Brady Mueller, Cathy Ferguson, Ralph Dawson and Brett Hopkins all offered suggestions for change was quite a sight.

No council member was prepared to make the motion that Shepley requested at the beginning of consideration.

Now, that might have Shepley scratching his head as to how he had lost control.

And, now that the city council members have showed that they can assert themselves, city council meetings might get more interesting than the seemingly rubber stamp ones have ben in the past.

Like many leaders, after he figured out which direction his “followers” were going, he switched direction trying to get ahead of them.

If you would like to read what happened at the Tuesday city council meeting, McHenry County Blog ran stories on Wednesday and Thursday. Thursday, there was also a story on the Crystal Lake Planning and Zoning meeting on McHenry County College’s baseball stadium and fitness center application in the watershed. The park district meeting story ran on Friday.

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Sorry about the quality of the photographs of Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley (on the left) and City Councilman Jeff Thorsen. They are of the actual interchange when Thorsen was leading the charge that resulted in Shepley losing control of the meeting on the Crystal Lake watershed, so I thought they might be of interest. Now, if the lighting in city council chambers were just a tiny bit better or the front row a bit closer…

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