The Berlin Bleacher Wall – Part 1

From the morning shadow of Crystal Lake High School’s football bleachers comes this essay. It was written by Paul & Eileen Schwake, who live on Amberwood Drive


No one is above the Law. The Law must be adhered to by all men.

Justice must prevail for each and every one of us.


On December 23, 2011, the decision by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan states school districts must comply with municipal and county zoning ordinances unless such ordinances interfere with the district’s main purpose of educating students.

For District 155 to comply with Crystal Lake’s municipal and county zoning ordinances in construction of these CL South High School Mega Bleachers ABSOLUTELY in no way interferes or hinders in the education of their students.

Amberwood homes behind the south side of the football bleachers.

Amberwood homes behind the south side of the football bleachers.

For School District 155 to maintain they do not have to adhered to the City of Crystal Lakes zoning process and laws because they are governed solely by the McHenry County Regional Superintendent
of Schools and received permits from that office is stating they are above the law and the law does not apply to them.

District 155’s defiance is an example of governmental abuse at its finest.

Taxpayers do not work for the government; the government works for the taxpayers because it is through the taxpayers sacrifices in paying their taxesthey support all government salaries, contribute towards their pensions, etc. and keep all of these agencies functioning.

We, the taxpayers, definitely without question have a say in all that we support through our hard earned taxes that by law we must pay or be penalized.

District 155 in defiance to comply with Crystal Lakes municipal and county zoning ordinances has failed in the trust we the taxpayers have placed in them to be teaching educational development to students.

By ignoring the law, District 155 and the Regional Superintendent have taught students that it is acceptable to defy the law and ignore the concerns of Crystal Lake taxpayers who are the individuals
paying District 155’s and Regional Superintendent’s salaries, contributing to their pensions and funding the lawsuits against the wrong doings of District 155.

Although District 155 in advance placed announcements in the newspaper about their upcoming plans, they never went into explicit detail as to being up front as to their vision in replacing the
current bleachers.

Nor did they convey the truth and notify Amberwood Drive Homeowners as to the wrongful injusticethey would have to endure in the construction of replacing the old bleachers. Further, for the first time the City of Crystal Lake was by-passed in not being notified of the District 155’s plans in replacing the current bleachers.

We are residence on Amberwood Drive (most likely the longest residing homeowners) since 1988 (25 years plus) and never until The Berlin Wall of Steel was constructed did problems exist between the school administration staff and the homeowners.

= = = = =
More tomorrow.


The Berlin Bleacher Wall – Part 1 — 26 Comments

  1. I have not read the Crystal Lake zoning ordinances, but don’t the rules about what can be built and how big it can be usually vary based on zoning?

    Can’t you build different things for different things on property based on it’s zoning?

    What is this piece of property zoned?

    Are there any zoning laws in Crystal lake that prohibit building this on a piece of property with that zoning?

  2. You will need to contact the Crystal Lake Building & Zoning Department for the details to your questions Erik.

  3. Zoning ordinances have 2 primary concerns, Classification, meaning R-2, B-1, I-2, etc. for use and Bulk Restrictions, for setbacks, size, height, etc.

    In this case, South is properly Classified for a school use in R-2.

    All the controversy about the bleachers has to do with the Bulk Restrictions, including setbacks and height.

    The bleachers encroach on the 50′ setback and greatly exceed the 15′ height limitation.

    There are other lesser issues also.

    The School District also failed to comply with the Stormwater Ordinance.

  4. Very well written. People need to realize that while the fans may enjoy these bleachers maybe 5 times a year, these people are being forced to live behind them (the worst view) forever.

    They may have moved behind a school and a football field but they did not move behind these huge things and what is now a football stadium.

    Did anyone realize that these bleachers will take up to the year 2060 (or there about) to be paid for with the money that field brings in?

    That’s insane.

  5. “Fukoku” = Kim Zinke She is married to Andy Zinke…….

    File a civil law suit and take em to the Bank. 99% of the taxpayers side with the homeowners.

    These officials act like children….

  6. There are comments on The Patch that claim the school’s athletic director is purposely turning the speakers up and pointing one directly at the homes on Amberwood just to annoy them.

    Real mature.

  7. “No one is above the Law. The Law must be adhered to by all men.”

    Tell that to congress and the president.

  8. If that is true about the Athletic Director he should be fired and brought up on charges of Disorderly Conduct…

    No one is suppose to be above the law.

    It is the City and County Government that has empowered them…

    The “Arrogance and God Almighty” attitude of these people is reprehensible….

    The homeowners should file civil law suits. Don’t hire an Attorney in Mchenry County.

    Find a Lawyer from outside the County..

  9. The appraisal term for the bleachers is is “external obsolescence.”

    Further, appraisal forms have a cell in the Sales Comparison grid for “View” where adjustments can be made.

    In this case, the vast majority of comparable properties would have a superior view thereby penalizing these property owners.

    When/if these property owners get an appraisal, they’ll have more than enough incontrovertible evidence to prove damages should they decide to pursue the matter in civil court.

  10. Great info Alan.

    I wondered how they could prove damages.

    I also wonder if this mistake by the school, would be upheld by the courts, simply because the homeowners made the conscious choice to live next to a Public Property.

    Just another Moral Hazard though.

    People and institutions passing all the risk of their actions, onto others that have to take on all the burden and costs.

    Caused the ongoing depression and Illinois learns nothing from it.

  11. Go get em Homeowners.

    I will be in Court everyday cheering you on!

    We will be putting up billboards and starting new blogs..

    “Support the Homeowners” “Take em to the cleaners Homeowners” and more…..

    Sure hope the School Board and Mchenry County Government is ready for us…

    We could create new laws and set legal precedence at the Mchenry County Court House.

    We could create non violent protests…

    Everyone join the band wagon….

    Imagine all the people…

    Oh sorry that was a song.

    But, it could work……

    We will demand the removal of Judge Thomas Meyer and Judge Gordon Graham from those legal proceedings…

    Judge Sharon Prather you have no place in these types of proceedings…

    Calling Judge Weech……..

    In my humble opinion, the only Judge demonstrating integrity.

    How about it people?

  12. Remember Reagan?

    “Mr Gorbachov, take down that wall”

    “Mr Principal Take down the Berlin Bleachers” or “Mr. Principal, take down those bleachers”

  13. You make an excellent point D.J. Traeger.

    How can they prove damages?

    I am sure there is more involved here then we are all aware of in the zoning ordinances that District 155 has mistreated for their benefit.

    I am confident that the City of Crystal Lake Building & Zoning Department and the City Attorney, John Cowlin, will protect the people based on the City ordinances and laws.

    This ill-thinking, filing a civil law suit and take them to the Bank is the wrong mentally too take.

    This mentally is the reason for our country’s downfall as the foolish minds think they can get rich on every mishap.

    Amberwood Drive Homeowners should just wait and allow the City of Crystal Lake correct this crisis at no expense to them.

  14. Duncan Mchenry = Zane Seipler, you are a troublemaker.

    Why don’t you just relax?

    Not everyone is an angry individual like you.

    You need to get a job and start doing something with your life.

  15. And, to think District 155 is molding young minds that will never use those bleachers.

    I don’t know about other parents but I would much rather homeschool my children than be exposed to that type of thinking.

    Let’s see, what are they teaching these kids? Actions speak louder than words and they are our children’s role models.

    First, no ones rights are as important as the employees of District 155.

    Two, they don’t care if they infringe upon other peoples happiness.

    Three, they don’t respect peoples boundaries so why should the kids.

    Four, when they make decisions it doesn’t matter if they affect the property value of someones home..

    Five, there is no personal accountability for the people who made this decision as long as they are happy.

    Six, we all live in a Democratic America.

    However, district 155 is an island of communists.

    Which means that their decisions are based on the supposed rights of a group and individual rights and the Constitution mean nothing.

    And to think, the US Constitution is required to graduate High School.

    Now isn’t that a contradiction in thought?


    “The Due Process Clause prohibits state and local government officials from depriving persons of life, liberty, or property without legislative authorization. This clause has also been used by the federal judiciary to make most of the Bill of Rights applicable to the states, as well as to recognize substantive and procedural requirements that state laws must satisfy”

  17. “Fukoku”= Kim Zinke.

    Let me guess, you are a man commenting or, a women commenting or, you are Kim Zinke commenting or, you are Fukoku?

    No wonder you are so confused, you don’t know who you are…

    Please no more knife incidents Kim…

  18. ‘Fukoku” = Kim Zinke I have a full time job. And, what I do with my time is none of your business…………

    Kim Zinke is Married to Andy Zinke who is running for Mchenry County Sheriff in the upcoming elections.

    She is just trying to protect the “Brethren of her profession” and her political buddies…

  19. It has never been stated that the Amberwood Drive homeowners who are suing the district are looking for any money.

    The posted letter here was written by another set of neighbors.

    The ones suing are asking for the district to abide by the city’s zoning laws.

    They want to be able to have their due process in front of the city’s zoning board to which they were denied by the district board members and superintendent.

    The posted letter above is very well written and brings up many issues with these bleachers and the neighbors that wrote it seem to be greatly affected too.

  20. “jgkm6″ They should sue the district. And, may they get a lot of money for all of their mental anguish pain and suffering.

    Consequences, it is the single most important lesson a teacher or parent can teach a child.

    And, just because these are grown people committing these shenanigans, does not mean that they should not face consequences.

    All of the homeowners should be awarded a lot of money.

    They have nothing to be ashamed of for accepting a settlement or going to court to settle this..

    Guaranteed, every single person on a civil jury will be sympathetic to their plight and surely award ‘BIG MONEY”

  21. This comes down to the power of the Government School, or the City of Crystal Lake, holding them accountable.

    It is great example of how the School controls the children, and the taxpayers.

    I can not wait to see what the outcome is.

  22. Re: “I also wonder if this mistake by the school, ….” (from a comment above)


    Heck, if this was a mistake everyone involved in the process should be fired immediately for incompetence and arrogance.

    This was a CHOICE, a CHOICE to put up an eyesore that blocks the sun, increases the noise, and is only made more complete with portable toilets, etc.

    Make them take it down and return it to what the homeowners might reasonably have expected to be behind their homes.

  23. Anonymous, you are correct, but the Government School, has a choice, and it will be to defeat the Taxpayer.

    They will hold the children hostage with “It is for the children”.

    How much money did they think they would make, by filling those seats, follow the money.

  24. I have never heard that term “Government School” before.

    I never thought of the school’s being a separate administration until now, and it’s true.

    The “Government School” in fact does hold the children hostage to control us, the taxpayers, like a weapon to carrying out their misdeeds.

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