Another County Board Meeting, Another Crowded Room

The Unified Development Ordinance–proposed future zoning rules–was again a big draw at Tuesday’s McHenry  County Board meeting.

McH Co Bd 9-2-14 audience

Audience at the Sept. 2, 2014, McHenry County Board meeting.

At the last meeting, the room was packed with recreational vehicle owners.

From the number of snowmobilers, one might conclude that they are well organized.  Boaters were well represented as well.

There was more testimony from RV and boat owners, but what caught people’s attention most was the talk about sex-oriented establishments.

The language was included in the ordinance to make sure that those wanting to open such adult establishments would have to go through the zoning ordinance. Here’s how it begins:

ADULT USE. A BUSINESS having as a substantial or significant portion of its stock-in-trade or business activity in a USE including, but not limited to, ADULT ARCADES, ADULT BOOKSTORES OR ADULT VIDEO STORES, ADULTCABARETS, ADULTENTERTAINMENTCENTERS, ADULT HOTELS/MOTELS, ADULT MASSAGE PARLORS, ADULT MOTION PICTURE THEATERS and ADULT MINI-MOTION PICTURE THEATERS, ADULT NIGHTCLUBS, ESCORT AGENCIES, NUDE MODELING STUDIOS, RAP PARLORS, ADULT SAUNAS and SEXUAL ENCOUNTER CENTERS where explicit SEXUAL CONDUCT is depicted and/or SEXUAL ACTIVITY is explicitly or implicitly encouraged or tolerated. ADULT USE includes the following definitions:

The document then provides four pages of explicit definitions of the above categories.

Testifying were three women from the Human Trafficking Freedom Coalition of Northern Illinois. They emphasized the human suffering involved in human trafficking and pointed to deficiencies in the UDO, including lack of background checks and lack of video surveillance.

Suggestions offered follow:

Human Trafficking ord 1Human Trafficking ord 2County Administrator Peter Austin suggested that perhaps the subject should be addressed in a separate ordinance.

Susan Whitfield has this to say, “I request that the County Board vote to delay final approval of the UDO. I and others are in the process of finding ‘best practices in zoning and regulation that minimize the unique challenges of human trafficking.”

Paul Dreiski, elected Orchard Beach Road Commissioner, said, “We strongly agree with the vision statement that John Hammerand posted online:

‘Our lifestyle is worth protecting. We Need YOUR Support to Continue our Fight to Cut Bureaucracy and Waste while Protecting the Quality of life in McHenry County”

“We at Orchard Beach Subdivision are proud to be part of McHenry County,” he continued.

“We want the subdivision to be exempted from 16.11.A Storage of commercials vehicle for residential users and 16.11.B Storage of Recreational vehicles for Residential users, because our Roads are private non-dedicated roads that we maintain.”

The human trafficking topic was featured at the February breakfast of Patriots United and a task force has been meeting since then.


Comments

Another County Board Meeting, Another Crowded Room — 9 Comments

  1. I found how to access the audio tape of the meeting.
    http://www.co.mchenry.il.us > County Meetings (top right side of home page).

    Scroll down to, “Past Meetings.”

    The audio needs to be louder, even with adjustments it’s hard to hear some people.

    Scrolling down the past meetings, with few exceptions the only meetings that are taped are regular board meetings are taped.

    You cannot profess to have open transparent government yet not tape committee meetings.

    And a lot of the past meetings do not have meeting minutes.

    You cannot profess to have open transparent government yet not post meeting minutes for all meetings.

    Irritating, not transparent, so don’t pretend to be transparent.

    The McHenry County Board is not transparent in posting meeting minutes for all open meetings and taping all open meetings.

    What’s their excuse?

    The cost of transparency is too high?

    They think taxpayers will complain about transparency costs?

    No one has complained?

    Well, start complaining.

    The press can’t cover all those meetings.

    Probably in a lot of those meetings there is not a single watchdog.

    And since the meeting is not taped, well, the information is lost.

    Therein lies many big problems.

    We have no clue what is going on in many of these meetings.

    And we will never know unless they are taped.

  2. Here are all the McHenry County Board members who have decided to not tape and post minutes for all board / board committee meetings.

    They choose to not be transparent.

    No one has made this a major campaign issue.

    If they have, my apologies.

    Yet they say they represent you.

    What will the result be when they tape and post minutes for all meetings?

    Initially, probably only a few people will listen to and read the minutes, and in some or many cases maybe no one.

    But a few is better than none.

    And as time goes by this more people will listen and read.

    Either that or quality of life for the vast majority will decrease.

    Because the current level of government promised benefits and spending is unsustainable at current revenue levels, which means quality of life will inevitably decrease through less services or more taxes and fees.

    People are not yet feeling enough pain, as much as they complain.

    Or if they are feeling too much pain, they don’t know what to do about it.

    Or if they do know what to do, they think they cannot make a difference.

    We already know what the #1 excuse will be for not posting meeting minutes and taping meetings.

    Board members will not speak as freely.

    Board members will secretly speak outside meetings, daisy chaining conversations.

    There is no ideal solution.

    Bottom line, transparency should not be an option.

    At the rate government has grown, with all the public meetings for all the taxing districts, taping
    meetings and recording minutes for all meetings is an imperative not a nice to have.

    Michele Aavang (District 6)
    Yvonne Barnes (District 1)
    Nick Chirikos (District 1)
    Sue Draffkorn (District 4)
    Diane Evertsen (District 6)
    Joseph Gottemoller (District 3)
    John Hammerand (District 4)
    Jim Heisler (District 2)
    Chairwoman Tina Hill (District 5)
    John Jung, Jr. (District 5)
    Ken Koehler (District 2)
    Donna Kurtz (District 2)
    Bob Martens, Sr. (District 4)
    Mary McCann (District 6)
    Mary McClellan (District 3)
    Anna May Miller (District 1)
    Bob Novak (District 1)
    Nick Provenzano (District 3)
    Sandy Salgado (District 4)
    Carolyn Schofield (District 2)
    Ersel Schuster (District 6)
    Michael Skala (District 5)
    Michael Walkup (District 3)
    Paula Yensen (District 5)

  3. This is really sick, Mark.

    Why on earth would anyone take a public office and then try to hide what they are doing?

    I think that most folks hadn’t realized it was this bad.

  4. The tapes are their because a majority of the board put them their.

    Good minutes are even more important because they.

    Can be word searched .

    Also if there are a million copies it is much harder to change them.

    Remember how the pigs in Animal Farm changed the law by updating the wall?

    The same goes for the big push by some to reduce the number of county board members.

    It is very hard to keep secrets with so many eyes and ears around !!!!!!!

  5. Yesterday at the 9:00 meeting I suggested that the chair turn on the microphones so the vote could be Heard clearly on the recording she said ok ,but later told me that there mite be a Technical problem.

    I will pursue this issue I believe she will too.

  6. By the way all the minutes for meetings I attend are posted as the law requires and I believe so do

    The other committees.taping meetings is only required with executive session.All other taping is optional

    By state law.talk to your state rep.for a change in the law.

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