WOODSTOCK – The McHenry County Board approved a land use plan this morning that will help shape the county's future. The 2030 Plan was approved by a vote of 19-3 at 12:45 a.m. today after several hours of debate and numerous amendments.
The vote brought an end to 3 1/2 years worth of work.
County Board member Tina Hill, who chaired the board's Planning Development Committee, expressed concern about the number of changes they had planned Tuesday night and this morning.
"We made a lot of changes tonight," she said. "We're not quite sure what we're voting on. I want to table the final vote. I think in a few places we really screwed up."
Hill's motion to table the votes was defeated on a voice vote, and ultimately she voted for the plan.
The 2030 Plan will be a guide for future development in McHenry County. The plan has been a controversial issue with critics contending that it does not go far enough protecting agricultural land and groundwater.
But supporters say the plan represents a sensible compromise – it promotes compact growth that would largely be contiguous with municipalities.
Hill came up with 24 amendments to the plan meant to address many of the concerns that had been raised.
However, several motions by County Board member Ersel Schuster forced the board to reconsider some of Hill’s amendments. Schuster sought to strengthen language in the amendments in a way that Hill said could drastically alter the plan.
By the end of the end of the night, all of Hill's amendments had been adopted, some with changes.
The land use plan has proved to be a difficult issue for the County Board. The previous county planning commission spent 7 1/2 years developing the 2020 plan. That plan was reworked by the County Board and ultimately failed to gain approval.
The 2030 plan was under discussion for 3 1/2 years.
The County Board heard from meeting attendees for about an hour.
Cindy Skrukrud spoke on behalf of the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County.
“We continue to support the key concepts of the plan, which promotes a compact view of growth coming from areas that are contiguous with McHenry County,” Skrukrud said.
The Defenders did recommend some tweaks, such as better identifying aquifer-recharged areas to protect groundwater. That was among the amendments brought to the County Board.
Among those who were critical of the plan was Bull Valley Village President Brian Miller.
“Bull Valley is very concerned about the 2030 Plan the county is proposing because it would lead to high-density development,” Miller said.