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Local Government

Development ordinance headed to full County Board

WOODSTOCK – The Unified Development Ordinance is expected to go to the McHenry County Board for review next month for an August vote.

After more than three years of work on the ordinance, the board’s Planning and Development Committee anticipates finishing its review of the final draft and moving it forward to the full board before month’s end. The County Board under its rules would put it on 30-day review at its July 1 meeting, setting up a vote at its next morning meeting Aug. 5.

Coming in at 300 pages and 20 chapters, the ordinance updates the county’s development-related ordinances, such as those governing zoning, signs and subdivisions, and combines them into one to make the rules easier to read and follow. It only applies to unincorporated areas, and does not supersede municipalities with their own development and land use ordinances.

The planning committee was set to move the ordinance forward last week, but was presented just before its meeting with a letter from the State’s Attorney’s Office reviewing portions of it, committee Chairman Joe Gottemoller, R-Crystal Lake, said. The committee will meet an hour before next Tuesday’s evening County Board meeting to go through the letter.

Gottemoller anticipates that the County Board will hold at least two Committee of the Whole meetings to review the ordinance’s provisions. He said a July 1 start date to the 30-day review provides the added advantage of giving the public another chance to comment on it at the County Board’s evening meeting July 15.

The ordinance in recent months has undergone public review, and revision by the Zoning Board of Appeals, which subsequently sent it to the committee for its final revision before going to the County Board.

The ordinance attempts to balance property rights and preservation of natural resources, and attempts to address some land-use issues, such as agritourism, that have caused problems for the County Board in the past because no definition or rules existed.

Minor adjustments aside, the county’s zoning ordinance was last overhauled in 2000, and its subdivision ordinance dates back to 1991.

The Zoning Board of Appeals processed more than 500 pages of comments and testimony from residents during the public review process.

On the Net

You can read the proposed Unified Development Ordinance at

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