After Chairman Lauzen recognized that the date of the meeting coincided with my 38th birthday (thank you all for NOT singing), the majority of the meeting revolved around a petition to amend a PUD to allow chickens, and the annual prevailing wage vote.
On the petition to amend the PUD, the petitioner stood in violation of county zoning ordinances which prohibit the raising of chickens, fowl and livestock within a PUD unless determined at the inception of the PUD. The petitioner was asking for the County to amend the existing PUD to allow their home to be exempt. The County Board listened to a great deal of public comment from residents, much of which strayed away from the specifics of the petition. Some of the issues raised:
- The home in question was not part of the PUD and therefore was exempt. This was not the case. The residence was moved into the community during the development as a rental unit for owners building homes within the new development. It has always been a part of the PUD, and was sold as a permanent residence upon completion of the community.
- The PUD was dissolved due to a provision in the HOA Covenants. While the HOA may have been dissolved through the design of the covenants, the PUD zoning was still in force. These are two separate and distinct issues that are unrelated.
- A fire expert by proxy refuted claims of a slaughtered goat being burned as was claimed by those in opposition to the petitioner. This had no relevance to the question before the Board.
- The house was originally zoned as a F1 farming, and therefore should be returned to such. Zoning designates restrictions on parcels of land. The zoning does not travel with the structures on the land.
- Owners both for and against the petition accused the other side of being poor neighbors. This had no relevance to the question before the Board. The petitioner and their neighbors could be either the greatest or worst neighbors, and it would not change the facts before the Board.
- Prior to the meeting both sides waged a social media war against the other side.
To me, in the end this was a pure question of zoning. Kane County has several specific zoning designations that already allow for livestock and fowl. PUDs specifically do not. When a resident moves into a community, he or she is made aware of what those restrictions are and should weigh their intended use of the parcel against the restrictions. Let's put this into perspective. Imagine if you are a resident of Valley Creek PUD located in the 19th district. You buy your home on Lyle Avenue and decide to take advantage of the through traffic and open a car lot in your front yard. Zoning restrictions prohibit this from happening in order to protect your neighbors who moved into a residential community. The City of Elgin in this instance would not be discriminating against car lots, but rather protecting the make up of the neighborhood. This is why we have zoning restrictions, to allow uniformity and predictability. The petitioner's request was solidly voted down.
On the question of prevailing wages, the State of Illinois requires the County to adopt a Prevailing Wage Ordinance on an annual basis. Some of my colleagues have proposed following the lead of our neighbors in McHenry County and voting down the ordinance in a protest vote, only to approve at the next meeting. I don't really care for theatrics and therefore voted to uphold the Illinois State Statute.
In remarks made against the Long Meadow Parkway Bridge, my colleague Jarrett Sanchez incorrectly stated that we could use the funds designated for this project for other purposes such as closing budget holes in the general fund. I am very disappointed that any member of the County Board would make an outright false statement such as this. The transportation funds received from State and Federal grants MUST be used for the exact purpose in which they were awarded. There is no wiggle room on this matter, and all 24 members of the County Board know this. The irony of the fact is that the resolutions he voted against reflected reductions in our costs, which allowed us to transfer these same funds to other aspects of the project, further reducing the County's liability on the project.