College Asks Crystal Lake To Cover 45% of Watershed Land; Staff Agrees

Once upon a time in Crystal Lake, people cared about the watershed that provides water to its namesake lake, which is supported by 10 springs.

To protect the watershed of its Crystal Lake, the city council passed an ordinance that required only 20% of land within the watershed be built upon.

Now comes McHenry County College asking permission to build upon 45% of the 169 acres it owns or soon will own.

An MCC request will be made to the Crystal Lake Planning and Zoning Commission Wednesday night at 7:30 for a public hearing on July 18th.

Here’s the part of the city’s staff summary—written in boldface type in the original—which addresses the more than doubling of the impervious surface allowed by the Watershed Ordinance (the paragraph has been divided for easier reading):

The Storm Water Consultant has indicated that the amount of water recharged into the aquifer (water budget) for this project will be equal to the amount that is generated naturally.

This will be accomplished by utilizing the engineering design techniques and available infrastructure that are included in the city’s Best Management Practices Manual for the Watershed…

Our consultant has indicated that the site should easily be able to reliably infiltrate all storm water runoff from the proposed (maximum) impervious coverage at completion.

The report notes that until the recently purchased 57-acre parcel is developed, the total impervious coverage will be 29%.

Later in the recommendations, the staff recommends,

As a condition of approval, both the consultant and staff recommend that the College should commit to salt, phosphorus and herbicide and pesticide minimization on the campus.

“Minimization” is way too vague a word for me.

What about you?

Just how could anyone challenge overuse if that were the standard?

Indeed, why should any salt be allowed when alternatives seem available?

Among other information I found interesting in the staff report is that the college is assuming that vehicles going to the baseball stadium will have an average of four passengers per car.

And fireworks are contemplated.

City staff thinks there is insufficient information concerning the type and amount of lighting.

MCC is asking for the city to waive the requirement to apply for “amplified noise permits.”

The college requests not to have to get permission for signs, including temporary signs for upcoming events, or to have to obtain sign permits.

MCC wants to keep Tartan Drive and Ring Road undedicated streets, a suggestion the city staff did not look favorably upon.

The college wants the city to amend the Storm Water Ordinance. City staff noted that the McHenry County Board would have to agree on any changes.

While asking to connect to city water, the college wants to be able to continue to use its wells. The last time I looked at state law, when a homeowner gets city water, he or she has to stop using well water.

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Other exclusive McHenry County Blog stories about Crystal Lake, the lake, can be found below, oldest at the top:

Probing the Depths of Crystal Lake

Geological Survey Photos of Crystal Lake

Fossil Spruce Wood and Needles Say Crystal Lake 16,000 Years Old

Crystal Lake’s Lake Bottom in Good Shape

Crystal Lake’s West End Not So Bad

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