The Crystal Lake Planning and Zoning Commission voted without dissent to deny Crystal Lake High School District 155 permission to keep its stadium bleachers at South High School’s football field.
With the Amberwood neighbors’ suit having been won at both the McHenry County Circuit Court and the 2nd Appellate Court, the school district’s only hope for victory lies with the Illinois Supreme Court, to which the School Board has appealed the case.
After a two hour and fifteen minute presentation by the school district, public comment was allowed.
Neighbors made emotional appeals concerning the loss of quality of life and property values.
One told of a letter from Algonquin Township Assessor Bob Kunz saying that he would have to compare their homes to homes next to a gravel mining operation.
Booster Club officials and South High School’s football coach and others told of the increased safety and access for the handicapped.
Nevertheless, when the presentations were completed, Commissioner Dave Goss went down the check list prepared by city staff, concluding that most of the findings of fact that would required for approval of the special use permit and variation had not been met.
FGM Architects’ Josh Czerniak that it would cost $4-5 million to move the bleachers from the west side of the football field to the east side.
Erecting the bleachers cost $1.1 million.
It was pointed out by a member of the commission that their job was zoning not finances.
Testimony revealed that the bleachers were put on the west side so that the sun would not be in the faces of home team fans.
A neighbor pointed out that in late August the sun set at 7:30, about the same time that Varsity games started.
One mother pointed out that the Junior Varsity played their games before sunset.
Before a vote was taken, Chairman Tom Hayden tried to find a middle ground, but the school district decided to take a vote instead.
Not one vote favored leaving the bleachers where they are.
After the meeting two newly-elected high school board members were asked their take on the decision.
“I’m overwhelmed,” said Adam Guss.
“I’m learning,” running mate Amy Blazier commented.