Local Government

Hearings scheduled for county ordinance

WOODSTOCK – McHenry County has scheduled four public hearings for its proposed Unified Development Ordinance.

The hearings are meant to gather public input on the 300-page, 20-chapter ordinance. That input will then be reviewed by the McHenry County Zoning Board of Appeals, which will make necessary changes to the ordinance.

Hearings are set for April 2 in the Marengo High School auditorium, April 3 in the McHenry Township conference room, April 4 in the Scot Room of McHenry County College, and April 7 in the board room of the Harvard District 50 Administration Center. All hearings start at 6 p.m., except for the MCC hearing, which starts at 1:30 p.m.

The ordinance updates county government’s zoning, sign, subdivision and other ordinances and combines them into one document. It only applies to unincorporated areas and does not supersede municipalities that have enacted their own zoning ordinances.

After a year of joint meetings, the zoning board of appeals and the McHenry County Board Planning and Development Committee voted earlier this month to move the ordinance forward to the public. Work began on the ordinance three years ago, following the 2010 ratification of the county’s 2030 Land Use Plan.

The zoning board may extend public hearings to additional days if the volume of public comment merits it.

Comments received will be reviewed by the zoning board in at least two meetings, scheduled for 1:30 p.m. April 23 and 24 at the county Administration Building, 667 Ware Road, Woodstock. Extra meetings may be scheduled if needed.

The zoning board will amend the final draft based on public comments, which will go to the Planning and Development Committee and then the full County Board for ratification, which likely will take place this fall.

The ordinance attempts to balance property rights and preservation of natural resources, and tries to tackle some land-use issues that have stymied County Board members in the past.

The county’s current development regulations in many cases have not been seriously reviewed for some time. Minor amendments aside, the county zoning ordinance was last overhauled 14 years ago, and the subdivision ordinance dates back to 1991, not counting the 1998 addition of a conservation design section.

If you go ...

Four public hearings have been scheduled to receive public comment on the proposed McHenry County Unified Development Ordinance:

• 6 p.m. April 2 in the auditorium of Marengo High School, 110 Franks Road.

• 6 p.m. April 3 in the main conference room of McHenry Township, 3703 N. Richmond Road, Johnsburg.

• 1:30 p.m. April 4 in the Scot Room at McHenry County College, 8900 Route 14, Crystal Lake.

• 6 p.m. April 7 in the board room of the Harvard District 50 Administration Center, 401 N. Division St.

The McHenry County Zoning Board of Appeals may continue the public hearings to future days and times to accommodate additional public comments.

The board has scheduled at least two meetings to review the comments received. They start at 1:30 p.m. April 23 and April 24 at the county Administration Building, 667 Ware Road, Woodstock.

On the Net

You can download and read a copy of the Unified Development Ordinance at http://shawurl.com/12c0.

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