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What do you know about the Unified Development Ordinance?

Published: Friday, July 11, 2014 2:12 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 11:19 a.m. CDT

McHenry County government has been working for three and a half years to develop something called a Unified Development Ordinance, UDO for short. Essentially, it is a document that combines the zoning, sign and subdivision ordinances into one document. If done right, a UDO resolves any conflicts that may have existed between the various separate regulations and streamline the regulatory framework for development projects.

The desire to unify the development rules into one ordinance grew out of the 2030 Comprehensive Plan that was approved by the County Board in April 2010, setting forth a vision for the future of the county in addition to recommendations for actions to guide future development. Overall, the plan reflects the fact that McHenry County has many precious natural resources that should be preserved as the county population grows in the future.

The final document is over 300 pages long. The County Board's Planning and Development Committee members and Zoning Board members held what seemed link a gazillion joint meetings over the last year or two to review the draft UDO section by section. They tried to meet with all special interest groups to hear comments and concerns. They then tried to balance competing interests.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I have not read the current draft, but did read several chapters of earlier drafts. Additionally, TLC provided many pages of comments related to protection of groundwater quality and standards for conservation subdivision design.)

The UDO was placed up for 30 day review by the County Board at their July 1 meeting. They are planning to discuss and vote on the ordinance at their August 5th meeting. 

For people who are interested in the future character and quality of life in McHenry County, you can read the ordinance here: link to UDO. Additionally, you might be interested in the comments provided to the County Board by the Alliance for Land Agriculture and Water (ALAW). You can read their letter - written by Dunham Township resident Pat Kennedy - by clicking here.

Finally, if you don't know who your county board members are, click here to find out!

Lisa Haderlein writes the Speaking of Nature blog. She is also the Executive Director of The Land Conservancy of McHenry County. You can reach Lisa at lhaderlein@conservemc.org.

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