Rebuttal to Critics of Coral Township Convent Expansion

There have been a couple of article concerning the efforts of nuns who own property in Coral Township to gain zoning approval to build additional structures on their property.  This article explains a bit about one of the hearings on which there was no vote.

Under one of the articles, the following comment from one of the church’s members was posted.

Now that the McHenry County Zoning Board of Appeals has bucked the petition of the The Fraternite of Notre Damet o the McHenry County Board, I thought folks might like to read about the petitioner’s side of the issue.

Development plans for the property.

Development plans for the property.

Kristin, Cynthia, Susan,

No-one said that the students will come from the Austin neighbourhood of Chicago.

Their church gets members from all around Chicago and suburbs far and near.

None of their church members have “troubled youths”.

Do seriously think that they would bring troubled youths to disrupt the harmony of the boarding students or the school.

Since I personally know the members of that church, you are wrong on that account.

“How much will you charge for the school? We do not know. Will they be boys or girls? We do not know
How will be in charge of each operation? We do not know”.

Again, these questions are premature.

They have over a 100 religious members, they rotate around their various missions.

Who could know in 2 years what person will be in charge of any of the projects.

That is not being vague, it is just too far in the future to know.

“Are you able to run and teach in a school? Yes, you mean you have a US education and teaching certificate. Well no but we will get it…”

They run schools and teach in several countries.

Several of the religious members have multiple degrees.

They were engineers, carpenters, librarians, school masters, electricians, iron workers, bee keepers, business people, farmers, nurses, and doctor, before becoming religious members.

Religious communities have produced excellent schools of education before any other entity since the middle ages.

In Europe and the United State those schools run by religious organizations produce students that excel far more than those in public/ state funded schools.

Why do think some parents choose to avoid the state funded schools (besides paying their taxes), and still will fork out money for tuition to send their children to private/ faith-based schools.

“Therefore, if the children you will bring from the Austin area will have special needs what you will do. Well, we will get those helps for the children…
From where? Well we do not know but we will get them”

Again Mr Cuda is conjecting an idea that Kristin and others have voiced.

No-one is going to bring troubled children or special needs children to the school.

Most likely they will not come from the Austin neighbourhood, because most of our church members come from around Chicago and the suburbs.

The Mother Superior at the first zoning meeting told the people that any child with special needs would be referred to more appropriate schools.

Their school is going to be a preparatory school for higher education.

They presently have several children in their small school program.

None of them is “troubled” and each of those students have expressed how they love being in the country, how nice and quite it is, and they get to help with the animals.

The school will not use tax dollars, private schools charge a tuition.

There are several schools that cater to special needs children.

They have on staff physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, nurses, and special ed teachers.

Since I take care of a Down-syndrome child, the parents of those special needs children tend to seek out schools that specialize in the development of those children.

The sisters will refer those children should they seek to apply to those more appropriate schools.

Your supposition is all conjecture.

The sisters’ school will be a preparatory school for higher education–Notre Dame Academy.

“Did you operate a go fund site where you collected almost 300K/: Yes, we did.”

After buying the extra 30 acres over a year ago; they then applied for the zoning permit last year before the boilers in the Chicago church broke down and became unrepairable.

Several companies gave them a quote to replace the boilers. The 200k cost was not what they were expecting.

They did not have that money upfront to do the repairs.

Good, kind people started the Gofundme account to help out the sisters.

Frankly, I think it was a miracle that they were able to get slightly over 200K (not even close to 300K) of money over a weekend.

But that is how they survive, it is through donations.

None of them, not even the bishop gets a wage from all the work they do.

Even at the bakery shop in Vernon Hills, the volunteers that help out also do not get a wage.

Land and property can be bought with a mortgage.

New buildings can be built with a mortgage.

I believe most people go by that payment plan.

Some very helpful benefactors helped them with the down-payments.

And yes, we are all Roman Catholic, and practice the Roman Catholic faith. We do not scam, defraud, or cheat our members or other people.

God’s commandment is “Do not steal, do not bear false witness”.

However, what makes you think you are entitled to look into their finances. They are not running for office.

You are not banking their projects.

And considering many of their church members are poor, the coffers of the church collection are meager compared to other parish churches.

However, they do accept donations of cash, cheques, endowments, and property.

All of which are legal tender. They have to struggle to make a living out of the cakes and cookies they sell.

They work in a lot of market areas in Chicago and the suburbs. Not everyone is going to buy cakes and cookies, it does not appeal to everyone.

“Are you licensed to sell food: Yes, from who and what organization>>>Well I do not know. We will be approved.”

They have a license to sell from the State of Illinois Dept of Regulation, just like any seller’s enterprise.

That is the law.

Mother Superior is not the accountant, she was not in a position to know.

But be assuredd they have the license because they sell their bakery goods in Vernon Hills, and in farmers markets.

The winery and brewery, and canning of their organic produce will appeal to a much broader clientele.

They need to bring other sources of income to support themselves (the order has increased over the past ten years), and support the projects of their mission.

The boarding school and nursing home/ hospice center will be part of their continued mission.

They have built a small hospital and several medical clinics in other countries.

They have doctors, nurses, and medical personal that help them.

Many people are confused by how we stand with the Catholic Church. Individually, we are all Roman Catholic, we practice the Roman Catholic faith.

However, they are new religious order, started in the 1970s.

They have tried to put their order under the umbrella of the Vatican.

They met with Pope John Paul ll, and he sent to Paris, France an emissary to visit their convent and mission and see how their lives serve the church’s vision of corporal works.

However, a homosexual/ pedophiliac bishop that they had in earlier years refused to support his depraved lifestyle had promised to stump any efforts they made to move their cause under the umbrella of the Vatican.

This was his vengeance for them not supporting his lifestyle.

He stopped the emissary from visiting the convent and mission, and sent the emissary back to Rome.

They never got the justice due to them to move under the auspices of the Vicar of Rome, the pope.

We have supported all the popes, and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

They have applied again, and we ask for your prayers for their success in this effort.

They use small vans and trucks, themselves.

Do any of you complain when the big grainery trucks, or the combine harvesters move down your country roads around harvest time?

Apparently as these big trucks serve your farming purposes, their impact on your road are “ok”.

Seems a bit selfish to me. Your country roads are all class II roads as well as Route 20 and Harmony Hill Rd.

The few cars, small vans or moving truck they have do little to add to the wear and tear of your roads.

You are being hysterical in your suppositions.

Did anyone complain when the 38 large houses in the subdivision across Harmony Hill Rd were built?

What about the noise from those bulldozers, those large trucks that delivered building materials?

Of course not.

As long as it serves your purpose, or bring tax dollars, those trucks and the construction building noise is tolerable.

How can they know how many bottles of beer or wine they will make when they are not in production yet.

The questions are premature.

That’s why “they don’t know.

It is not being vague.

“How much money will be used for the mission of helping the poor: We do not know
How much will it cost you to build the compound: We do not know?
How much will the septic system cost: We do not know”

Most of the funds they use are donations, even the food stuff for the pantry is all donated.

At the time those questions were asked Mother Superior did not have a cost breakdown of the proposed projects.

She did not expect those questions, nor is she the treasurer.

But by the end of the Zoning hearings the cost was over a million dollars to build the environmentally sustainable school, and over 600 million to build the environmentally sustainable nursing home/ hospice center.

That is including the septic systems, which the EPA Mr. Moscat said the property would easily sustain.

He also said the wetland feature is not protected, it is not spring fed, but low grade water collection, from rain.

No protected animals exist there.

“You said on this petition that the one building will be Barn like…Please tell us what that means.
Well it will be concrete. Very strong…
Will it be a wood structure? Oh..Yes… Yes. Like that…
What will the size be? Oh, I do not know…Like a barn
So it will be made of wood? No no brick and concrete
Well that does not sound like a barn, as we know it. What will the shape be? Like a barn…
Shaped like a Barn? Well I do not know…
It does not sound like a barn.
Are you asking for over height permission? Yes,
So this will be a mega Barn? Yes, very big.”

In Europe, I lived there for 11 years, many of the barns are made of concrete brick or stones.

Some with galvanized roofs, wood roofs, or concrete roofs.

They are made sturdy to last hundreds of years.

So this is not a problem for the sisters.

Obviously Mr Cuda, has not spent time on European farms.

A barn does not have to be wooden.

More wood barns exist in the USA because forest wood was plentiful.

You will just have to think out-side-the-box.

“And with Mr Kelly blocking their answer to how much revenue they made its impossible to know their financial situation.
Quite honestly I wonder if the go fund me has any protections in place from scammers …
The community and the Government has a right to their financial information give the tax free status they enjoy and fund raising based upon need.”

I agree with rawdogger: “It’s really not your business.
Do you think you would have the right to inspect a residential neighbor’s finances and history before they would be permitted to move next door? Absolutely not.”

They are not running for office, or taking money from the government, or your taxes.

They are a private enterprise,trying to live out peaceful lives in the country.

Unless the neighbours want to bank-roll these projects, they are not entitled to know about their finances, or business history.

Two women in the center of this crowd wore habits.

Two women in the center of this crowd wore habits.

Any more than if I asked the local farmers or businesses to layout their business plans or finances just because I was curious.

That is just plain arrogance.

“1. Water use cost and brewery effluent waste water treatment cost. These costs can be substantial, depending upon production volume.
Has the conditional use permit application stated an annual production volume limit requested?”

They want to build a micro-brewery and micro-winery.

There are 25 large swimming pools among 38 houses in the subdivision across the road.

There are another 20 pools of water in the neighbourhood east of Route 20.

That is a lot of well-water.

They would not be able to make as much beer or wine to fill all those large pools of water.

They are not building factories, nor do they have land like Nappa Valley.

There are two other monasteries in Mc Henry County that have received their zoning variances and building permits for beer and wine making.

Why should the FND church group be any different?

Or denied the means of support for their continued ministries?

“2. School funding. The diversion of State, Federal, and local property tax funds to a restricted- access school may be of concern to residents of school district.”

No-one is going to divert monies from the county, state or federal funds.

The school will charge a tuition, as most private schools do.

“3. Hospice funding. The diversion of Medicare and Medicaid funds to a restricted- access medical facility may be of concern to residents of County.”

Many religious run nursing homes are on restricted land, most are on private property.

Most are in residential neighbourhoods.

Some are on main streets.

Mostly all of your private hospitals, nursing homes accept medicare and Medicaid funds.

However, medicaid takes over a year to pay their bills.

Many insurance companies pay for nursing home and end of life care.

The building will have to be built first, and go through a rigorous inspection process before it will be validated to receive Medicare and Medicaid funds.

“4. Fire and Rescue service availability. If expansion of equipment and personnel are required will the local taxpayers be required to bear that entire cost burden?”

What makes you think more personnel will need to be hired?

They are not building another town.

Did the Fire and Rescue service have to hire more personnel when the subdivision across Harmony Hill Rd was built?

Let me add since the ZBA hearings have concluded: Mr Tarabein, a real estate expert in residential and industrial properties, stated that you need to look at the whole of the property to see what the main purpose is.

He stated, its a church, a school, and a nursing home, all are residential. Not industrial.

The micro-brewery/kitchen/micro-winery are too small to impact the overall purpose of the property.

The UDO also labels nursing homes as residential whether they are built in a business district or a residential district.

The only difference is the type of landscaping that must be used, respectively.

If we build the micro-brewery, we already know that it will entail management of waste water.

We know how expensive it will be.

Water use will be consumed in an environmentally sustainable way.

The buildings plumbing systems will have designed into it water saving features.

They want to make their land and building an Environmentally Sustainable jewel.

They are asking for the gift shop to be able to sell their bakery goods, spiritual items/ books.

Most churches have bingo nights, bakes sales, and carnivals to help raise money for their schools and church ministries.

Why this church group should be denied that privilege of making extra money for their ministries is quite unfair.

This church group also serves coffee, tea, and sweet-rolls after church services.

It helps our church members to visit with each other.

Presently the sisters only have a truck trailer to serve the members in.

It would be nice to be able to sit at table in a purpose built gift shop where we can also get our usual after service treats.

The truck trailer can be very cold in the winter months.

The traffic expert, Miss Kelly Connelly, already explained that the traffic coming on and off the property in peak hours would not impinge on Harmony Hill Rd.

The few cars from the school or nursing home (at change of shift) would be very negligible.

She recommended that Stop Signs be placed on the sisters property at the exit points.

There is one last thought I wish to leave with the good folks of McHenry County board and the citizens of McHenry County.

President Clinton signed into law the Federal Religious Land Use Law and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000.

It is designed to to protect religious assemblies from zoning and historic landmark laws that substantially interfere with their religious free exercise to conduct their ministries.

This includes churches, mosques, and synagogues, in the use of land and buildings for religious purposes

Because history showed, as it still seems to do, that land-use regulations were often applied more onerously to religious minorities.

If you deny this good group of religious sisters and friars from performing the ministerial work they are accustomed to, you in fact place upon them a substantial burden.

You must also treat all the religious entities in McHenry County the same.

To date there have been approximately 25 cases of other religious groups seeking zoning variances for their properties, including 2 other monasteries for beer and wine making, and also the building of a mosque in Chrystal Lake, IL.

All of them got their zoning variances.

Most without much of a “boo” from their neighbours.

Why this Order of nuns and friars should have so much opposition can only appear as local persecution and intolerance.

Well, I think I have answered most of your questions.


Rebuttal to Critics of Coral Township Convent Expansion — 7 Comments

  1. 1.

    A) Gallons of water in a 25x 10x 5.5 ft pool: 10,286.
    45 pools at 10286 gallons = 462,870 gallons of pool water annual use.

    Illinois Craft brewers license allows 30,000 barrels of beer annual production.

    Illinois class 3 Brewers license is unspecified amount.
    31 gallons of liquid in a barrel of beer.

    Water use ratio to produce one barrel of beer : 7 to 1. ( range is 3.5 to 7.5, with large efficient Brewers at bottom of range).

    30,000 barrels x 31 gallons per barrel x 7 (ratio of gallons of water use to finished beer production volume) = 6,510,000 gallons of brewery water annual use.

    B) 70% of water used is discharged as effluent.

    See Brewers Association report for particulars on Typical Ranges of Brewery Untreated

    End-Of-Pipe Wastewater Effluent , 2010-2012 Municipal Treatment Costs table of brewery effluent, Best Practices for Effluent Treatment, and Local requirements for Onsite Wastewater Treatment of Wastewater.

    (Municipal txt costs for a 15,000-100,000 barrel annual product in 2010-2012: $16,400-$110,000).

    C) Property taxpayers without religious exemptions would be forced to offset some or all of costs generated by commercial operations.

    Also commercial operations lacking religious exemption would pay sales tax to Illinois on retail sales.


  2. 4.
    A) fire and Rescue availability: by the logic that sufficient capacity of taxpayer-funded resources exist to supply large new commercial operations, no new building should be forced to,pay a percentage of property value to pay Fire and Rescue.

    That is, all taxpayers who come along now and build should get free services to use up excess capacity.

  3. 2. See following websites for information on public funding of private schools:>choice>regprivschl

    (Transportation to be provided free by public school district, free textbooks, special Ed, state grants for free lunches, computer literacy grants, exemption from property tax and use tax, special Tort liability exemptions, Illinois Expense Credit tax credit for education expenses))

  4. 3. It was my understanding from prior articles that access to the hospice services ( as well as schools) will be restricted by the religious order and will not be made available to local residents.

    Hospice services are apt to be reimbursed by Medicaid.

    The County nursing home Valley Hi is now experiencing significant Medicaid reimbursement rate cuts. ( limited resources available).

    My comments were in the form of questions, as I assumed that these cost/benefit issues would be explored more in depth by the ZBA.

    The ability of a religious organization to be specially exempted from taxes and certain civil liability, and ability to exclude the general public from access to school and hospice, create legitimate questions about how much ($$$$) a community may be forced to subsidize for,their exclusive benefit.

    If those with decision making power answer the specifics to the satisfaction of local residents forced to pay for it, so be it.

    But vague generalities about production capacities would not be allowed if petitioner were a commercial operation.

    It is baffling why that seems to be the case here.

  5. Does the County 2030 plan not encourage the location of commercial enterprises in municipalities which have the infrastructure to support them?

    For all intents and purposes this application for several deviations from current County ordinances is an application to create a commercial enterprise in a rural area which has no municipal services.

    Why would they do this?

    Lower property cost and avoidance of municipal codes and charges for services which do not exempt a not for profit?

    This application is even worse than a TIF from the viewpoint of placing the tax burden on other taxpayers.

  6. If this was any other investor looking into a commercial enterprise, many which don’t necessarily coexist, like a school and a brewery and a hospice and winery, would it even be considered?

    I just don’t think that because they are a religious order they should receive special consideration.

  7. Let me repeat for those that don’t get it:

    Since the ZBA hearings have concluded: Mr Tarabein, a real estate expert in residential and industrial properties, stated that you need to look at the whole of the property to see what the main purpose is.

    He stated, its a church, a school, and a nursing home, all are residential.

    Not industrial.



    The micro-brewery/kitchen/micro-winery are too small to impact the overall purpose of the property.


    The UDO also labels nursing homes as residential whether they are built in a business district or a residential district.

    The only difference is the type of landscaping that must be used, respectively.

    Thank you Susan for the cost breakdown.

    You said “Also commercial operations lacking religious exemption would pay sales tax to Illinois on retail sales.”

    Also please be informed that we pay a sales tax on all the baked goods we sell at our shops.

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