A highly unpopular plan for a 70,000-square-foot office building for contracting companies and a large lot for trucks also proved unpopular with the McHenry County Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday.
The board voted, 7-0, Tuesday to recommend rejecting a request to rezone the 14.9 acres southwest of the Burtons Bridge Beach subdivision from residential to general business use. The Pinnacle Peak business park proposed by developers Jonathan Pease and Rick Mancini was opposed by residents of neighboring subdivisions and the villages of Prairie Grove and Island Lake.
With that clear message, the developers said they now intend to retool their plan for their land on Route 176 for light business.
"At this point, we would like to go back and make a new zoning request to cater to local business and professional offices in a very similar plan with nice landscape buffers and a good-neighbor approach along with those uses," said Jack Pease, Jonathan's father.
Neighbors attending the meeting, many wearing buttons saying "Keep it rural" and "Keep it open," applauded the board's vote, which could go before the McHenry County Board late next month.
Lori McConville, who helped found the opposition group Nunda Neighbors with resident Marcia Millman, lives next to the triangle-shaped property.
"I feel absolutely wonderful with the recommendation that will go to the County Board," McConville said. "What the discussion here showed was the [zoning board] members listened to the neighbors and the research, and the efforts we put in."
Zoning board members opposed the plan - and the noise and emissions it would create - so close to homes. McConville said Nunda Neighbors came from Burtons Bridge Beach, Highview Estates, Shore Oaks, and other neighboring subdivisions.
"This is not an area for storage, and possible fueling, of 70 trucks," member Elizabeth Scherer said.
"Prevailing winds would blow all the air emissions from the trucks directly to the homes, along with the odors from those trucks," Scherer said. "You've got trucks starting up at 7 a.m. adjacent to these homes, 5 a.m. sometimes in the winter."
The McHenry County Defenders also opposed the plan, stating that fuel from the trucks could contaminate private wells in the subdivisions, and runoff would pollute the Fox River, program membership coordinator Lynn Rotunno said.
Despite their signs and buttons asking to keep the area open, opponents at Tuesday's meeting said they were not opposed to Pease and Mancini developing the area. Jack Pease said the land, most of which borders Route 176, is unsuitable for homes, an opinion shared by McConville.
Although the County Board has a history of overriding the zoning board's recommendation and its own land-use plan, neighbor Louise Reinier said she was confident that members would reject the Pinnacle Park re-zoning.
"We've been to County Board meetings as well, and they've heard us, and we hope they listen to us, because we're the voters," Reinier said.
By KEVIN P. CRAVER