McHenry County Land Conservancy Exec Criticizes County Conservancy Design Zoning Enforcement

Lisa Haderlein, Executive Director of The Land Conservancy of McHenry County, took on McHenry County’s zoning department Tuesday night.

The Northwest Herald’s Kevin Craver had a fine article on her and other citizen’s complaints, but I thought you might like to read her entire presentation. It follows:

I want to share with you some information about implementation of the County’s new Conservation Design Subdivision regulations.

Approximately one year ago, the County Board passed a resolution supporting creation of conservation design development standards.

In that resolution, the board said it was doing this to “encourage more efficient use of land and public services…promote protection of Groundwater supplies, natural areas and natural resources…”

Specific goals included:

  • “to preserve the integrity of the land and its natural functions;…
  • “to preserve and restore remnant wetlands, woodlands, savannas and prairies…;
  • “to preserve the hydrologic condition and infiltrative capability of the soil by minimizing mass grading and impervious surfaces…” among other goals.

The County staff are rapidly turning it into an ordinance to give developers the ability to dramatically increase density on sites, while virtually ignoring the natural resources, and mass grading the entire site (in at least some instances).

Oh, the problem isn’t the issue of “density bonuses” that some worried about, no, none of the projects that have been reviewed to date actually meet the standards for any bonuses, yet they are seeing density increases of 30-70%.

That’s right.

How about a development that was previously platted with 60 1-acre homesites that is now winding its way through the approval process to resubdivide so to have 103 one-third acre homesites!

Yep, that’s right,

  • a 70% increase in the number of homes that will be built –
  • a 70% increase in traffic,
  • a 70% increase in spray-irrigated sewage, etc etc.

And to boot, they are mass grading the entire site – you can drive by it right now on Church Road in Coral Township.

There was a point in the conversation about the new ordinance where I encouraged people to support this step by the county board, thinking (naively) that perhaps with such a clear policy direction as is written into the ordinance, that surely, the staff couldn’t get away with screwing this one up too.

Well, I was wrong.

And I am not afraid to admit it, and had I known then what I am seeing now, I would have fought adoption of the ordinance.

To the County Board’s credit, I do not believe that the majority of you are even aware of what the staff is doing to undermine the intent of the ordinance.

Lisa Haderlein
904 N Jefferson Street, Harvard IL

Craver’s article emphasizes that Sue Ehardt, zoning czar, is about to get the boot.

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