Local Government

Zoning Board reviewing UDO comments

WOODSTOCK – Changes to the proposed Unified Development Ordinance are being recommended based on comments from the public.

The McHenry County Zoning Board of Appeals is processing more than 500 pages of comments and testimony from residents who have reviewed the proposed ordinance. After two days of meetings last week, the board has added a third for Thursday and instructed county staff to keep May 7 and 8 open, Planning and Development Director Dennis Sandquist said.

Sandquist characterized the recommended changes made to the document, which is entering the final stretch after three years of work, as minor.

“I would say, so far, it’s been a tweak here and there,” Sandquist said.

The 300-page ordinance updates the county’s development-related ordinances, such as those governing zoning, signs and subdivisions, and combines them into one document to make it easier to read and follow. The ordinance only applies to unincorporated areas.

The majority of comments and concerns voiced by the public to date have focused on tightening requirements for wind turbines and loosening them on agritourism uses.

One change recommended by the zoning board based on public comment increases the maximum size of gift shops for temporary agritourism uses from 600 to 1,000 square feet, and lifts the limit entirely on historic barns if local fire officials approve. Owners of agritourism operations have complained that the ordinance’s restriction was too onerous.

The zoning board also has instructed county staff to evaluate how stringent the ordinance’s wind turbine regulations are compared to other counties. Commenters submitted pages of testimony of horror stories of noise pollution and unsightliness from Illinois residents living near large multiple turbines.

Public comments were collected during a submittal period and at four hearings held earlier this month. About 110 residents attended those hearings, and 32 of them provided verbal comment totaling 22 pages of testimony. Fifty-five people submitted written comment totaling 299 pages, Sandquist said.

The zoning board upon its completed review will forward the ordinance to the County Board Planning and Development Committee, which will review it and make recommendations of its own before forwarding it to the full County Board for approval.

It is anticipated that the County Board will hold at least two Committee of the Whole meetings to review the ordinance before it is voted upon.

Read the proposal

You can read the proposed Unified Development Ordinance at http://shawurl.com/10wo.

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