Crystal Lake Park Board Asks City and State Community College Board for Delay on Baseball Stadium

The Crystal Lake Park Board agreed to ask the city council to “take no action on any pending or future developments (in the watershed) until we have our report and the Best Management Practices have been approved by the technical advisory committee and approved by the city council.”

“Do you anticipate it’s delaying the college?” Board President Mike Zellman asked.

“It does what it does,” Mike Walkup, the maker of the motion, replied.

Zellman told of an hour-long conference call earlier Thursday with McHenry County College President Walt Packard, Donna Kurtz and Scott Summers.

“If we want to hire a 3rd party they would respect and listen to, within reason, anything an outside expert would suggest,” Zellman said. “There are certainly time constraints.”

By telephone, Dave Phelps pointed out, “This will not be done by September 8th.”

While Commissioner Jerry Sullivan had earlier said, “I think the science has been done,” in agreeing to seek additional advice, he added later, “We need to be able to say to the city that we’re not ready until the review is finished.”

Phelps emphasized the strangeness of the city council’s considering granting “a variance to something that’s in process.”

“That’s one of our concerns—that the manual isn’t completed,” Sullivan said.

Seconded by Dave Phelps, with two commissioners absent, the motion passed 5-0.

After deciding to solicit proposals to review the city’s proposed update on its watershed manual, I suggested that if they wanted to slow down the process, they could ask the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) to “dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s.”

I told them of the letter to the ICCB that would be posted on McHenry County Blog after I got home, which contained legitimate questions.

“Why don’t we draft a letter saying we have environmental concerns?” Sullivan suggested. “Ask them to withhold their approval until we get the results.”

The board agreed to write the state agency, which must approve local college buildings. The letter will address the park board’s environmental concerns and the inability to satisfy them until additional research is performed. Walkup agreed to write the letter.

At one point Zellman said, “The college has been open.”

I guess he hasn’t been a regular reader of McHenry County Blog.

Zellman did say that he would “let Walt know this is going to take place.”

Earlier in the meeting, several members of the McHenry County Defenders spoke.

Linda Gaska of Nash Road presented a case study of overdevelopment in the Catskills that led to degradation of a pure water supply for New York City.

The main speaker for the Defenders, Kim Willis, complained that the proposed zoning recommendations are “based on a manual, which has not yet been approved.”

She said the watershed manual contained “radical” changes.

Zellman pretty much pounced on the word “radical,” asking for examples.

I jotted down four:

  • The manual does address the quantity of recharge, but the Defenders are not satisfied with the best management practices on the quality side.
  • The Defenders are seeing things being taken out of the 2005 manual that are not in the proposed 2007 manual.
  • The locations of the filtration areas in the MCC proposal are inadequate.
  • The college is not treating water as it falls, which is generally better than collecting the runoff and treating it centrally.

Willis asked the board to “hire your own consultant to review this manual.”

Former State Rep. Rosemary Kurtz pointed out that there’s “another 1000 to 1500 acres out there that’s going to fall to development.”

She said the watershed ordinance has been in effect for 30 years and the city’s “staff hasn’t implemented it.”

Kurtz pointed to the last page of the second appendix, where an important change could go unnoticed. While the current ordinance states, “Impervious surface to be limited to 20 percent,” the proposal says,

“No impervious limitation.”

“This whole thing is getting back-doored,” Walkup added. “This is all being rushed through the back door.”

Superintendent of Parks Dennis Jahnke, who monitors the district’s wells daily, worried about “the volume of water running through Lippold Park.”

“Will it continue that way?” he wondered.

“The bike paths are all covered over,” Commission Candy Reedy observed.

District Director Kirk Reimer called the skateboard park at Lippold
”a wakeboard Park.”

The city’s technical advisory committee will be held August 28th.

= = = = =
Crystal Lake Park Commissioner Mike Walkup is seen upper left. Commissioner Dave Phelps’ name sign is shown before a speaker phone above a picture of Commissioner Jerry Sullivan gesturing with his hands.

Two of the CCAPOA’s boy kids were swimming at Gate 7 Beach for two hours Thursday afternoon. You can see that Crystal Lake is unusually clear for this time in August.

Linda Gaska, Kim Willis and Rosemary Kurtz are shown below on the left hand side of the page.

Below them is Crystal Lake Park Commissioner Candy Reedy.

The final photo is of three bike-riding teens who were repeatedly driving from the Gate 7 raft on Thursday before they decided just hanging out on the grass was enough exercise. Just another reminder of what keeping Crystal Lake clean is all about.

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