McHenry County College Gets Variation To Build on 50% of Old and Proposed Purchase

Without dissent, the Crystal Lake Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommend to the Crystal Lake City Council that McHenry County College be allowed to cover at least 50% of its current and proposed 57-acre addition, all in Crystal Lake’s watershed.

There were no objectors from the Crystal Lake public.

MCC President Walt Packard explained that the college was only seeking a variation from the 20% building limit contained in the watershed ordinance.

After he finished his brief presentation, Commission Chairman Tom Hayden observed that “the ball field for all intents and purposes is now dead.”

“That’s correct,” City Attorney John Cowlin replied. “The mayor said it (presumably the improper motion to reconsider) was moot.”

“To my way of thinking you are here because the 20% (limit) is still on the books (even though) the Best Management Practices are now (in place),” Hayden continued.

“By granting this eliminate the concerns of what can go on the property.” Hayden said.

“That’s correct,” Packard replied.

“I’d also submit that you’d probably be run out of town on a rail if you spent $3.6 million on land and couldn’t build on it,” Hayden continued.

Attorney Jane Collins was the only one to speak during pubic comment time.

She tried to elicit why the college was asking for a “variation,” rather than an “exception.”

No answer was forthcoming.

Carolyn Schofield was curious as to why the college was before her commission.

“I’m under the impression you can already do this,” she said.

“In order to eliminate any question (about the) 20%. Until it’s removed, it’s there,” Cowlin explained.

“They are in kind of a trick bag right now. They have agree to Best Management Practices, but the 20% is still in the ordinance.”

Concerning the 20 percent’s retention in the ordinance, Hayden said, “I think it gives us protection if someone wants to develop property (on the watershed) without Best Management Practices.

“My only objection was the road problem,” Commissioner James Jouron commented.

The six members present all voted to recommend the variation requested.

The vote seemed almost anticlimactic.

Waiting in the wings, however, is a second 3rd party review by Economics Research Associates.

New numbers.

Taxpayers would be naive to think that the MCC board majority has deep-sixed the baseball stadium proposal.

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In the top photo, McHenry County College President Walt Packard makes his pitch to the Crystal Lake Planning and Zoning Commission.

The head shots, from top to bottom are of Commission Chairman Tom Hayden, attorney Jane Collins, Commissioner Carolyn Schofield, City Attorney John Cowlin and Commissioner James Jouron.

At the bottom of the article, a clearly pleased MCC President Walt Packard shakes hands with MCC Board President George Lowe. MCC Trustee Barbara Walters is seen in the background.

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