District 155 Meeting with South High School Bleacher Neighbors Short-Circuited by Neighbors’ Suit

The new South High School Bleachers will block the early morning sun.

The new South High School Bleachers will block the early morning sun.

The table for those scheduled to participate in the meeting in the Crystal Lake High School District 155 Board Room were labeled with who should sit where.

Names were in front of the chairs arranged in a rough circle.

Names were in front of the chairs arranged in a rough circle.

But there was no meeting.

At 5:13 District officials were served with a suit asking that an injunction be approved the stop the construction of the new $1.2 million stadium seating and press box being constructed behind three homes on the east side of Amberwood Avenue.

The plaintiffs were Jeff Gurba and the Louis and Jean M. Bianchi Revocable Trust. Bianchi is McHenry County State’s Attorney.

District 155 Superintendent Johnnie Thomas with Board President Ted Wagner to his left.

District 155 Superintendent Johnnie Thomas with Board President Ted Wagner to his left.

District Superintended Johnnie Thomas, accompanied by School Board President Ted Wagner and a man who looked like a lawyer, came out with some papers he referred to and announced the meeting was being cancelled because of the suit that had just been filed.

A significant number of neighbors came for the meeting.

A significant number of neighbors came for the meeting.

There was a good showing of neighbors.

Three Crystal Lake City Council members also attended–Cathy Ferguson, Ellen Brady Mueller and Brett Hopkins.

The suit asks for both a permanent injunction with a trial set for November 12th and a temporary injunction, set before Judge Michael Cmiel on Wednesday morning.

The plaintiffs argue that whatever is in the School Code does not trump the Home Rule states of the City of Crystal Lake.

Schools and other non-Home Rule units can only do what Illinois law says they can do.

The plaintiffs argue that no where are school districts given the right to ignore local zoning or storm water ordinances.  The paperwork goes so far as to cite a section of the School Coed that gives school boards the power to “seek zoning changes…”

That section would be unnecessary, the argument continues if boards of education did not have to obtain zoning approval.

“If it were the legislature’s intent to abrogate a home rule unit of government’s ability to regulate a school district’s land use though a zoning ordinance, then the School Code would contain a limitation on home rule authority as required by Article VII [of the State Constitution].”

Arguing the homeowners will suffer irreparable harm, their attorney points out they will live under the stadium seating’s shadow “twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week,” while “the District might use the grandstand at most once a week.”


Comments

District 155 Meeting with South High School Bleacher Neighbors Short-Circuited by Neighbors’ Suit — 3 Comments

  1. While it was sad to see a public meeting cancelled at the last minute given the number of residents who turned out, the district had this lawsuit coming to them given the high-handedness of their move to begin building the stadium seating without any public notice.

    The district should have called the meeting before the first new bleacher was constructed.

    Hate to see litigation, but the district asked for this.

    Hopefully, the city of Crystal Lake will join the suit and win the injunction for its residents.

  2. D155 should have shown how to be a good neighbor & informed these people directly affected. D155 believes they are above the law and because they are bigger & have more money that they can bully anyone they want & do anything they want and get away with it.

    If anyone has seen this monster it is comparable to having a 3 story building or a 747 jet put up directly behind your home.

  3. The body language of District 155 Superintendent Johnnie Thomas, Board President Ted Wagner, and the man with the green shirt (laywer?) seems to be, “We are a public school district in Illinois and we can do just about whatever we want.”

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