South High School Stadium Seating Angering Neighbors

The view for Ambersood residents in Crystal Lake.  Amberwood is adjacent to South High School.

The view for Ambersood residents in Crystal Lake. Amberwood is adjacent to South High School.

If something like what you see above was being built by a neighbor, what would be your reaction?

Here is what the stadium seating looks from the street.

Here is what the stadium seating looks from the street.

What would you do if bleachers showed up in your neighbor’s yard?

Neighbors attended the District 155 High School Board meeting on Monday night.

They pointed out that a Wilmette Park District case ruled that park districts had to obey municipal zoning rules.

Hard to believe that the City of Crystal Lake doesn’t have some ordinance that would prevent something this high being built without city approval.

You can read the relevant state law below:

What state law says about municipal zoning power.

What state law says about municipal zoning power.

Below is an Illinois Attorney General’s Opinion that seems relevant:

An Illinois Attorney General's Opinion dated

An Illinois Attorney General’s Opinion from last year.

If anyone knows of any action the City of Crystal Lake has taken, please share your information in the comment section.


South High School Stadium Seating Angering Neighbors — 10 Comments

  1. I think the lights have been there for quite some time, anon.

    Looking at the statute cited, the underlying question is “does Crystal Lake have an ordinance that prohibits that structure.”

    If building bleachers is prohibited by Crystal Lake code, then District 155 has a problem if they did not permit it properly.

    If they don’t prohibit it and the district otherwise followed the ordinance(s) then the statute cited is irrelevant.

    I agree that it looks ugly from the resident’s perspective and I certainly wouldn’t want to look out my window at that “view” however I’m reminded of the Ackman Road fiasco of several years ago: “Well, we bought this house KNOWING that a road was platted behind our home but the realtor said ‘don’t worry, it will never be built.””

    So they bought and then the road came and you’d have thought they having their children taken out and beaten.

    You buy next to a high school and complain there is an athletic field?

    kids playing sports on the property?

    The distant ringing of bells at class change time?


  2. Clearly we knew what we were getting into owning a home behind the school.

    That is not the issue.

    It is the fact that the district put up these bleachers without notifying neighbors directly affected like they have done in the past when other construction happened.

    They also have not obtained any city permits & the city has requested them to stop working repeatedly.

    The bleachers have several zoning violations that the school is ignoring.

    That brings safety issues and potential accident’s & then lawsuits for the district.

    Then we also have issues with the work crews working Mon thru Sun all summer long from 6/7 am to 7/8 pm. We get that the school needs new bleachers.

    Nobody is arguing that.

    It’s the unnecessary height of them & the disregard for city laws/permits/zoning.

  3. Some school districts think they are exempt from the law. They are not when it comes to zoning matters.

    Taken from Patch newsletter….

    The city of Crystal Lake hadn’t heard of plans to install new 51-foot-tall bleachers that will seat 3,800 spectators (according to Maselbas) either.

    In fact, a project that size and that tall requires a zoning variance, said Michelle Rentzsch, director of planning and economic development for Crystal Lake.

    “(District 155) does not have zoning approval,” Rentzsch said. “They don’t have a storm water permit either. They need a zoning variation for that height and that setback. The city has asked them to stop working, and they have not.”

    Rentzsch said the new bleachers – which will serve as the Gators’ Home viewing area and were constructed where the “Away” stands were located – now stand five feet from the neighbors’ property lines instead of 50 feet. The city issued the stop work order on Thursday, Aug. 1.

  4. Maybe the homes behind the bleachers didn’t know it was for a football field – or maybe they don’t want their FREE view of the athletic events blocked.

    I’ll wait to see if the residents unite and start building skyboxes and charging their own admission.

  5. I understand the neighbor’s complaints, but have little sympathy.

    Complaining about replacement bleachers at a school to the city (one taxing district against another taxing district)is akin to complaining about airplane noise when you bought a house on the glidepath to O’Hare airport, or the noise and light in Wrigleyville from Wrigley Field.

    What did you think was going to happen?

    I too do not believe that the school district has to comply with the city’s building permits and such; did the city issue a building permit for the origional school building?

    I doubt it.

  6. Thank you, AZsupporter.

    The Voice of Reason appeareth!!

    Some people just aren’t right with the world if they’re not complaining about something.

  7. Why is a school district that is having teacher contract issues and a budget deficit building a 1.8 million $$ stadium for a barely average team?

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