D-155 could soon face daily fines for bleacher expansion

WOODSTOCK – Community High School District 155 could soon face daily $1,000 fines if an extension is not granted next week to prevent city enforcement on a legally contested $1.18 million bleacher expansion at Crystal Lake South High School.

Attorneys for Crystal Lake and the school district agreed Wednesday to a June 12 hearing in front of Judge Michael Chmiel, who will have to decide whether to extend District 155's grace period from financial penalties or allow the city to enforce fines to prompt the district to go through the city zoning process.

Chmiel ruled in December the city had zoning authority over the school district but granted the school district relief from the hefty fines until June 15 while the district appealed the decision.

Related: History of the bleacher saga at Crystal Lake South

The June 15 deadline was meant to expedite the appeal process, but Justin Hanson, an attorney for the city, said Wednesday the appellate court had not responded to both parties’ requests to present oral arguments and it is unknown when a decision could be made on the case.

Looking to avoid conflict in August when the bleachers would be needed again, Chmiel said he wanted a final resolution by June 15 to give the district time to go through the city zoning process during the summer if the appellate court upheld his decision.

City attorneys have said no fines would be issued to the school district once it decides to start the zoning process.

The lawsuit began in August after the three Crystal Lake residents, all living along Amberwood Drive where the football field is located, complained the $1.18 million bleacher project failed to follow the city zoning process and the district made the structure too large and too close to their property lines.