Kim Willis’ Comments to the County Board about the 2030 Plan on Behalf of the McHenry County Environmental Defenders

Good Morning. My name is Kim Willis and this morning I am speaking to you on behalf of the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County, located at 124 Cass Street in Woodstock.

You’ve just heard a brief overview of the 2030 Comprehensive Plan document, and I’d like to thank  Mr. Eldridge, Mr. Dreher, and Mr. Sandquist for providing you with that overview.

The Defenders have followed the Regional Planning Commission and staff through the hundreds of hours they have dedicated to creating this document for you. We applaud their efforts and commitment to this important process.

The plan, in its current form, represents an honest attempt at balance.

However, it starts from an assumption of preserving the status quo of recent growth, then tries to balance everything else we value within that framework. This will defer difficult problems to our children, as the status quo runs up against our county’s physical limitations of water, food dependence, infrastructure and the inevitable end to easy development. Instead, we have the opportunity to start with a focus on these actual physical realities and work to balance the interests of development within this more prudent framework.

As such, the Defenders will continue to advocate for greater consideration of water resources, agriculture and open space in this document. Our most significant request at this stage is that the existing basic provisions made for environmental concerns be preserved, spared from deletion or dilution.

Our members, along with many other members of the public who commented on the draft plan, overwhelming called for the plan to reflect their desires to protect the water resources, open spaces and agricultural land in McHenry County.

We ask the members of the Planning and Development Committee, as well as the Board as a whole to maintain the current protections provided to our community’s water, food, and natural areas, act upon the general public’s request for greater protection to land and water, and ensure the final plan provides a more equitable vision for the future of McHenry County.

Thank You.

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