Local Government

County pushes back Unified Development Ordinance vote

The McHenry County Board will not be voting Tuesday on the proposed Unified Development Ordinance because it has not yet finished reviewing it.

While it is on the agenda for Tuesday morning, the County Board plans to table the vote for at least two weeks. How much farther board members get at the next review meeting – its third for reviewing the 300-page, 20-chapter ordinance – will dictate whether the vote takes place at the evening meeting Aug. 19 or the next morning meeting Sept. 2, board Chairwoman Tina Hill, R-Woodstock, said.

The County Board left off its second Committee of the Whole last Friday on Chapter 14, Hill said. Its next such meeting is set for 8:30 a.m. Friday.

The ordinance, which has been under development for more than three years, 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 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 because no definition or rules existed.

One of the reasons the County Board is reviewing the ordinance in committee is so board members can air any changes they want to make ahead of time so they can be compiled in a list, rather than attempt major changes at the time of the vote.

Even without the Unified Development Ordinance, the County Board has a lengthy agenda.

It will start with presentations regarding the McHenry County Mental Health Board, which is trying to find its way after a tumultuous year, and the proposed Randall Road improvement project, which is gaining opposition over its size, scope and a proposed continuous-flow intersection.

The meeting will end with a vote as to whether to release an compliance audit done on the Nunda Township Road District and its spending of money received from the county's Senior Services Grant Program. The 2013 audit's findings, according to the resolution, "showed a weakness in the documentation of how the funds were expended."

The Finance and Audit Committee voted last week to recommend making the audit public.

The McHenry County State's Attorney's Office has opined that the audit is exempt from disclosure under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act exemption for internal audits of public bodies.

The Northwest Herald has filed a FOIA request for the audit, pending the County Board's vote whether to release it.

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