December 24, 2004
DeKalb County Board
c/o DeKalb County Planning and Zoning Department
110 E Sycamore Street
Sycamore, IL 60178-1497
RE: DeKalb County Zoning Ordinance Update Text Amendments
Dear Ladies & Gentlemen:
This is to advise you that I held a public hearing on Thursday, December 16, 2004, at 1:00 PM in the DeKalb County Legislative Center, AGathertorium@ at 2000 North Main Street, Sycamore, Illinois, 60178. This hearing was pursuant to a public notice relative to the proposal for an update to the zoning ordinance proposed by DeKalb County. As set forth in the notice, Aamong the changes being proposed for the DeKalb County Zoning Ordinance are: Eliminate all zoning districts in unincorporated DeKalb County except A-1, Agricultural District and FP/C Flood Plain/Conservation District, and >grandfather= all existing non-agricultural and property; make Aplanned unit development@ a special use under the A-1 District; revise certain definitions and add definitions to the ordinance; and revise the rules for Anon-conformities@ to ensure that properties previously zoned something other than A-1, Agricultural, may continue to be used and improved without any additional regulations.@
Approximately 80 people attended the hearing and 17 members of the public spoke in addition to Paul R. Miller, DeKalb County Planning Director. The hearing lasted approximately 3 1/4 hours and various concerns were raised by the speakers. In addition, several written statements were received into the record and the undersigned extended the time for people to submit written statements for one week until December 23, 2004. Everyone who spoke was under oath. The undersigned received a complete copy of the proposed revisions to the zoning ordinance prior to the hearing and had ample opportunity to study them.
Mr. Paul R. Miller, DeKalb County Planning Director, spoke at length and in detail explaining the various changes proposed to the Code and also the rationale for the changes. Mr. Miller described the current land use map which was adopted by the County, setting forth the DeKalb County Unified Comprehensive Plan, which was adopted on December 17, 2003. He stated that the Plan sets forth a vision for the future growth and development of DeKalb County and acknowledges the desired growth of the municipalities within the County by incorporating the municipal future land use plans. He stated that the Unified Comprehensive Plan recommends that all portions of unincorporated DeKalb County that are outside those areas designated by the cities for future growth and development should remain in agricultural or conservation uses. He pointed out that anyone can annex to a municipality if they are contiguous to the municipality and it is agreeable with both the property owner and the municipality. He stated that thirteen municipalities within the county and the county had created the Regional Planning Commission.
Mr. Miller further stated that for the past 30 years the County has been planning for its own growth. The policy has been to preserve agricultural land for agricultural use and to encourage growth close to cities and municipalities because that is where the services are located, such as sewage disposal, water, schools, police protection, fire protection, etc. He pointed out that it is less costly to provide services to adjacent homes than it is to do so out in rural DeKalb County.
Mr. Miller pointed out that the primary way to regulate and implement these policies is through zoning laws. He stated that in May of 2004 the Planning & Zoning Committee of the DeKalb County Board began to review the matter and held six public meetings over a period of six months. His department and the committee solicited input from various experts, both from within and out of the County, the State=s Attorney, and other zoning experts. He stated that the intent was to implement the policies set forth in the Comprehensive Plan.
Mr. Miller stated that notice of this hearing had been published in the newspaper, that there had been many individual meetings, that he and the Committee had done everything they could to solicit input and that there had been various articles in the newspapers.
The specific changes being recommended were then described by Mr. Miller. He stated that there was a major re-write of definitions, as well as some general provisions necessary to implement the changes. He stated that in the A-1 Agricultural District, which comprises most of rural DeKalb County, there were provisions added to provide for Aagri-tainment@ (defined as Auses and activities conducted on agricultural land that are intended to be offered to the general public for entertainment purposes@), a special use for planned unit developments (PUD), which would require a public hearing and which provided for major and minor PUDs, supplemental building requirements, accessory building requirements, revised home occupation requirements, and revised sign regulations.
Mr. Miller stated that the biggest change had to do with the changing of all zoning districts to A-1, Agricultural and grandfathering the existing uses. He stated that the goal for doing this was to control growth. He stated that if we have, for example, an R-1 district, a developer would expect to have a right to use it. By removing that R-1 district, that expectation on the part of the developer is also removed. He stated, however, that in drafting the proposed changes, they had been very careful to assure that existing properties would not be harmed. He stated that existing structures can be replaced without restriction. The changes were not focused on the present uses, but were focused on new uses.
Mr. Miller stated that the legal non-conforming parcels that would result due to these changes would be governed by the same rules now in effect. For example, damaged or destroyed houses could be replaced and there would be no time limit for doing so. There would be no effect on properties already zoned agricultural or on existing farm buildings.
Mr. Miller also went over a list of various questions that had been raised at the public meetings and gave his response to them, all of which are set forth in a Memorandum dated December 3, 2004, and which is attached hereto as Exhibit A to this report.
Mr. Miller also reviewed and read certain correspondence that had been received, namely from the DeKalb County Farm Bureau, from the Professional Planners with the City of DeKalb, and from the DeKalb County Farmland Foundation. All of these letters have been made a part of the record and all of these letters supported the proposed changes. Mr. Miller also stated that he had received numerous calls about this proposal and the majority of them did not object after hearing the explanation for the changes.
The hearing officer then invited members of the public who wished to do so to speak on the proposal.
The first speaker was Donna Bunton of 31957 Ault Road, Kingston, IL 60145. Ms. Bunton submitted a lengthy letter which she said had already been sent to all DeKalb County Board Members. The letter is made a part of this record. She argued that the government is taking away the citizens= rights, when in fact it should be protecting our rights. She stated that the proposed zoning ordinance would adversely change property rights and give too much power to the Planning Director. She feels that most of the ordinance is unnecessary. She stated that every law comes with a price and that it would limit the value of rural properties. She stated that it would be difficult to borrow money on property labeled Anon-conforming@. She specifically objected to the provisions dealing with Aagri-tainment@ and objected to certain provisions dealing with Acommon open space, proposed provisions for sewage disposal and other appropriate factors.@ She objected to the provisions regarding home occupations and limitations on livestock on parcels of less than 2 acres. She felt that it amounted to a taking without compensation and felt that the County would miss out on millions of dollars of revenue as a result of this ordinance.
Mr. Larry Carroll of 1324 Vienna Blvd, DeKalb, IL then spoke. He stated that he was 51 years of age and had lived in DeKalb County since he was 3 years old. He felt that he was familiar with the plight of farmers and the only way for farmers to make money is to sell the land. He objected to the 40 acre rule and said he was sick and tired of hearing about preserving farmland. He stated that he was a union carpenter and then gave a long speech on government and how government allegedly was trying to take away all of the people=s rights and he felt this was just another example of this. He had no comments about the specific provisions of the proposed changes.
Mr. Kenneth Anderson of 680 Hopkins Lane, Sycamore, IL 60178, stated that he feels we have an excellent Comprehensive Plan in place. He felt, however, that we do not need to add these changes to the zoning law because everything was working fine at present. He said we may want to revisit this proposal but felt there was no hurry to adopt it and that he was very concerned about creating so many non-conforming uses. He wondered if there is some hidden agenda here. He said why not have a referendum in the spring on this subject and submit it to the people of the county. He wondered how lenders and insurance agents would look at this. He felt that the better solution was to keep the existing zoning in place and change the undeveloped areas in the county to agricultural zoning if they were not already agricultural zoning.
Mr. Anderson also submitted a statement from the DeKalb County Building & Development Association, which is made a part of the record. The statement set forth the fact that the association fully supports the County=s Comprehensive Plan that incorporates each of the municipality=s comprehensive plans. The statement set forth that the association supports the concept that development should occur within the communities. The statement sets forth that the association is insulted Aby the innuendo promoted by Planning Director Paul Miller that these proposed changes are needed to prevent >deep-pocketed developers= from suing the county for the right to build in unincorporated areas. To promote such fear-mongering is simply irresponsible.@ The statement goes on to say that these proposed changes have potential to reduce property values for affected residents, many of whom have lived here for generations. The association goes on to suggest that the county consider leaving existing property zoned as it currently is. Zone all other property in unincorporated DeKalb County A-1, Agriculture. The association also asks that the county board slow down this process and table these changes until an independent review and research of potential consequences are fully addressed.
Mr. Paul Miller then responded to the comments made by Mr. Anderson. Mr. Miller stated that if a county has a zoning district on the books, any property owner can request it, and if turned down, it could be the basis for a lawsuit. He stated that the existing reality is that all of the communities within the county are growing. He stated that it is a function of elected officials to deal with zoning changes and it was not subject to a general referendum. He felt the system would be unworkable if every zoning change was submitted to a referendum. He stated that zoning is an administrative process.
Mr. Joe Wiegandof 32486 White Street, Fairdale, IL 60146, then spoke. He stated that he has a personal interest in this proposal because he has two properties that he owns in DeKalb County, one being his home, which was converted from an old church, and the other being a business property. He was concerned about these properties being labeled Anon-conforming@ and have an effect on his significant investment. He felt it puts their investment at risk and it would also put the investment of all of the other existing property owners in the county at risk. He questioned whether or not the proposal allows existing uses, then could a new building be put on that property which was already zoned? He stated that other property owners who apparently had no notice of this, would also be adversely affected. He felt that if individual property owners were not specifically notified, that it amounted to a Ataking@ of his property without proper compensation. He felt that Agrandfathering@ was dangerous because the county might eliminate it at some time in the future. With regard to the opinions of experts that Mr. Miller had referred to, Mr. Wiegand wondered if any of those opinions were in writing. He also wondered with regard to the policy of the county, was it the policy of the county board being referred to or the policy of staff? He felt that the staff perhaps had too much authority. He also referred to Aamortization@ of non-conforming uses, that over time the public planners might damage the individual=s property rights. He then referred to a case that came up in another state and cited at 585NW2nd411 regarding a lawful non-conforming use. In that case, a city, wanting to get rid of a business that had been previously labeled Alawful non-conforming@ simply gave the property owner 2 years to remove the use from the property, although it had been there for over 40 years. In appeal to the courts, it was held that the city had the right to do this and no compensation needed to be paid to the property owner, nor did they need to be given any assistance to relocate. Mr. Weigand felt that there should be further investigation before this plan was adopted, and suggested that a second public hearing might be in order.
Mr. Charles Brown, of 1320 S Malta Rd, DeKalb, IL stated that he is an attorney practicing in DeKalb County. Mr. Brown stated that people do not like the label Anon-conforming@ and that he felt that labeling property in that manner would be damaging to the property owner. He felt that the county needs to assure citizens that their property is legal in all respects.
Mr. Brown also stated that he felt that this is a shift in the zoning in DeKalb County and that making everything subject to a special use process would make it a more political issue. He stated that when zoning matters are governed by administrative proceedings, it limits the right of citizens to question and limits the right of individuals to appear on these matters. He felt that additional rules and regulations would be needed to govern the procedure in these matters.
Mr. Brown also spoke at length about the agricultural zoning district and the minimum lot requirements. He felt that our county ordinance violates state statute. In 1997, the state allowed the county to regulate farm dwellings, but he felt that the 40 acre rule had been misinterpreted with regard to the right of individuals to divide existing homes from the farm. He felt that in applying the 40 acre rule, and requiring that the 40 acre parcel be identified, was a problem when it was not property identified, and the entire farm was then considered non-buildable. Mr. Brown stated that this is not allowed by state statute. He felt that there was no basis for this change in the zoning plan, as it is perpetuated in the present ordinance. He also felt that the county has violated the state statutue by regulating 5 acre parcels, specifically with regard to building of ag structures on small parcels. He stated that the county cannot legally regulate construction of farm buildings. Mr. Brown suggested that this entire ordinance proposal needs to be reviewed by experts to determine its legality.
Mr. Michael Larson of 344 Greenwood North, DeKalb, IL stated that he had sent a letter setting forth his views (which was received by the undersigned after the hearing). He stated that he has no problem with the county policy regarding development of ag land and requiring that development be adjacent to existing municipalities, and in fact, felt that it was a good policy. He was concerned about businesses in the county outside of municipalities and what this zoning change would do to those existing businesses. He would like more time to review the proposals.
Mr. Mac McIntire of 198 Oak Street, DeKalb, IL 60115 stated that many people are concerned and all of the concerns have not been addressed. If the intent is to conform to existing plans, it should say that. He was concerned about the Anon-conforming@ provisions and felt that the average citizen who did not have substantial resources would not have a chance in court and could lose his non-conforming use if it was ever challenged. He felt that many people think it is harmful and there is substantial evidence that lenders might be disinclined to loan money to non-conforming properties. He felt that it was important that we grandfather the existing zoning and not merely grandfather the existing uses.
Mr. Peter Barrick of 433 W High Street, Sycamore, IL stated that he feels very well informed about this whole process. In looking at the map he pointed out that the color green represents agriculture and he felt that was good. He does not want to see us become like Kane County and allow our good farmland to be developed. He strongly supports this proposed change. He likes the present policy of building adjacent to existing municipalities and felt we should preserve the land for the future.
Mr. James Thornton of 29817 Thornton Drive, Kingston, IL 60145 stated that he likes the map as it is. He lives outside of Genoa and has lived there for 35 years. He feels that his rights are being taken away and he sees nothing wrong with having a subdivision in the county on wooded land. He feels that he should be able to sell his farmland if he wishes to do so and that it is up to the property owner to decide how it is used. He claimed that people have lost Anon-conforming@ property without notice. He doesn=t care if costs more to live in the country and pointed out that the county will grow 40% in the next 20 years. He pointed out that there is a lot of traffic, but most of the people are working elsewhere.
Mr. Bob Fleury of 962 Lavoie Ave, Elgin, IL 60120 stated that he has concerns about this proposal. He purchased 60 acres which has been annexed to Kirkland where he desires to construct a golf center and where he wants to put in a senior center. He raised the question, what if the Village does not want to annex the propertyBthen what? He feels that he should have an alternative in the county and was concerned that if his property did not touch a municipality he could not have it rezoned.
He pointed out that only Sycamore and DeKalb have professional zoning staffs and that the other municipalities do not. He felt that most of the municipalities were managed by people who were not professionals and that this would tend to cause growth to be pushed adjacent to DeKalb and Sycamore where they have a professional staff. He then made lengthy comments regarding EPA and their requirements. He stated that by being pushed to cities, it causes the individual to put in more expensive waste treatment systems than if it were not adjacent to cities. He felt that we should have some alternative sites where development can occur if rejected cities. He asked if this is all about farming? He feels that is going in the wrong direction. All jobs are leaving agriculture. He said he bought his land from a farmer who was anxious to sell. He questioned whether anyone bought farmland any more to farm and in response the hearing officer pointed out that the hearing officer was aware of many such cases.
Mr. Scott Merchant of 13988 Bunny, Somonauk, IL, stated that he is a real estate broker, a licensed real estate inspector, and licensed for the real estate development program. He stated that he is a 25 year resident of DeKalb County and that he has a residence located in the county which will become a non-conforming use if this plan is adopted. He stated that he also has property in Kendall County that he inherited which Kendall County made Anon-conforming@. He could annex his Kendall County property to Plano, but was told that it would cost $200,000 for water and sewer improvements. He stated that he is in favor of the Unified Comprehensive Plan, but he is against the thousands of non-conforming uses that will be created. There should be attorneys checking this and suggested this plan be tabled until further study by qualified outside experts. He stated that we cannot stop growth. We can only manage it.
Mr. Jordan Gallagher of 114 W State St, Sycamore, IL stated that he is an attorney representing the Rosemary Gallagher family. He pointed out that the subdivision at the corner of Perry and Rte 23 and Willow Run has been there for many years and all of those homes should not be made non-conforming. He stated that zoning is a legislative function, not an administrative function. He stated that the land owned by his client was rezoned in 1969 and there have been constant changes since. He questioned when the last major residential development was approved in DeKalb County. He stated that it had been a long time and he did not feel that the county was subject to lawsuits for turning down these developments. He stated that if the rules are followed, there should be no problem in the courts. The real question is, what is the highest and best use of the land? If it is existing residential, that certainly does not make the highest and best use agricultural. If there are houses on it, it cannot be farmed. He was uncomfortable with the new rules for non-conforming uses. He felt that it appeared that there would be two sets of rulesB one set for new non-conforming uses, and one set for old non-conforming uses and that this would be very confusing. Furthermore, if the rules are changed again, it adds to the complexity of the zoning situation in the county. He said that non-conforming uses are a problem with title companies and lenders, that things are working just fine now and that we should not make further changes.
Mr. Jack Bennett of 221 Joanne Lane, DeKalb, IL 60115, stated that he was a director of the DeKalb County Farmland Association, which is dedicated to the preservation of farmland. He is strongly in favor of the new land use plan and was testifying in his own individual behalf. He stated that it is true that there are fewer farmers, but also that fewer farmers can farm more land. He stated that we want the land for our great grandchildren and do not want to see it covered with houses and other development. Every house that is constructed costs the tax payers more money. He stated that the residential property in the county is subsidized by the farmland. He said that this plan is good and that he personally supports it.
Ms. Dee Wille of 12233 Pine Drive, Genoa, IL stated that she has property that will be adversely affected by this plan. She is a realtor and she said she has talked to many lenders and she believes that there are many lenders who will not finance a non-conforming use or will require a larger down payment if they are willing to finance it. She stated that she was against this plan.
Mrs. Susan Johnson of 400 E Hillcrest Drive, DeKalb, IL stated that she is the president of American Title Guaranty. She said that it is a problem when residential properties are zoned agricultural because the lenders are reluctant to loan. She said there are fewer and fewer local lenders involved and that when it is a lender from out of the county, they simply do not understand one acre farmettes and non-conforming uses. She agreed that it is important to preserve farmland, but some solution has to be found for the properties that are already zoned and used for residential purposes. She stated that frequently these problems come up at the closing when the buyers are ready to move and the sellers are already moved and then the out-of-county lenders raise these questions.
Mr. Donald Willrett of 7349 Somonauk Rd, Hinckley, IL 60520 stated that he is a fourth generation active farmer in DeKalb County. He did not favor this proposal and feels that it should be tabled. He sees it as a further erosion of property rights, that it increases the complexity of zoning, that it opens the regulations for legal challenges, and he sees no benefit from this zoning change. He stated that he agreed with the comments made by Mr. Wiegand and Attorney Gallagher. He is concerned about the idea of Agrandfathering@ the existing zoning, and questioned whether future officials would understand it and abide by it as presently defined.
Mr. Robert Faivre of 16380 Somonauk Rd, DeKalb, IL 60115, stated that he owns approximately 460 acres in DeKalb County, 60 acres of which is not farmable and the other 400 acres of which is not the best land in the county. He does not understand why we have to build adjacent to existing towns. He feels that many of the towns over the years have shown poor planning with being cut by railroads and other undesirable situations and we should be able to start over in an open area and build a new town if we wanted to. He said why add on to towns that are already Amessed up@.
Mr. Paul Miller then responded to some of the issues that had been raised by the speakers from the public. He stated that property that was presently zoned business or commercial would not be limited to the exact use, but the same rules that apply now would apply in the future. He stated that legal non-conforming uses would be exempt from the new requirements and they would be subject to the same rules as in the past. He stated that this is not a Ataking@ because the rights that individuals now have are protected. There is no policy or plan by the county to limit these uses over time. He stated that the cities and municipalities may grow as they see fit. He said that this plan had been reviewed by persons from outside the county who were zoning experts and found to be legal and proper. He said that the comprehensive plan is good and that while there may be some problems financing non-conforming properties, he did not think it would be a major problem and that the benefits from the new zoning proposals would be of sufficient public benefit to justify adopting the proposal.
At the end of the public hearing, the undersigned announced that written statements would be accepted until Thursday, December 23, and as a result, the following written statements were received and are made a part of the record:
1. Elmer Larson, LLC from Michael Larson, Stephen Larson, and John Larson, recommending that DeKalb County go very slowly before adopting the proposed changes. The letter points out that the proposal affects every zoned parcel in the county and they feel the policy of Adevelop next to existing municipalities@ is a good policy and has worked fine in the past. They suggest that the proposal be submitted to a county-wide referendum.
2. Mr. Paul Brescia of DeKalb Land Company submitted a letter objecting to the proposal, and in particular, objecting to the rendering of certain property as Alegal non-conforming@.
3. Mr. John L. Nichols submitted a letter in which he Astrongly opposes the proposed changes in the DeKalb County Zoning Ordinance as it affects and relates to agricultural property.@ He feels that the proposed action may constitute a Ataking without due process or compensation.@ He stated that the present agricultural zoning is overly restrictive on agricultural property.
4. John R. Guehler submitted a letter of objection. He does not feel there is a need for it and that the present zoning laws are working satisfactorily. He feels that because the municipalities can annex land, pointing out for example the annexation by Somonauk of 699 acres in 2004, it defeats the purpose of preserving farmland. He feels that there should be more flexibility in the application of the 40 acre rule.
5. Mr. Donald Stahl submitted a letter in which he expressed Acomplete opposition to the proposed change in the zoning classification.@ He does not agree with the objective of preserving farmland.
6. Mr. Shawn VanKampen of William E. Hanna Surveyors submitted the following comments:
A. He sees no point in requiring the identification of trust beneficiaries.
B. He questions where Aan appropriate location@ in the A-1 district is for a PUD. He believes it could be in direct conflict with the intent of the ordinance revision and is very ambiguous.
C. He has seen several instances where the ownership line for parcels is beyond the center line of a road, and even where a whole right-of-way may have come from a single property owner, and he feels that these owners should not be penalized for using their land for a zoning lot.
D. He points out that a Acorn maze@ will need more than a 10 day permitted time period to be viable.
E. He feels that there is a stigma attached by lenders to Alegal non-conforming@ uses, which would adversely affect hundreds, if not thousands, of parcels.
7. Mr. Charles G. Brown of the law office of Boyle, Cordes, Witheft & Brown, submitted comments that he feels that the amendment to Section 4.02.D2 violates the state statute relative to the county=s ability to regulate property used for agricultural purposes. In his opinion, state law only permits a non-home rule county to regulate the minimum lot size for agricultural drawings. He also feels that the application of the ordinance to agricultural parcels relative to the requirement that all lots subdivided under the 4.02.D2 be governed by the requirements of the supplemental district regulation set forth in Article 5 also violates state law. He points out that by designating all 4.02.D2 parcels as Anon-conforming, residential@, property owners must comply with all residential requirements regardless of the agricultural use. Mr. Brown states that the requirement that the property owner must subdivide the balance of his property to preserve the right to construct another farm dwelling on the remaining acres should be eliminated, likewise any parcel greater than 5 acres in size and used for agricultural purposes should not be subject to the residential zoning restrictions.
The proposed amendment to the zoning code is comprehensive and has far-reaching effects for the land owners in DeKalb County. There were several individuals who appeared at the public hearing who favor the proposals, however a substantial number of the persons submitting oral and written statements object to all or portions of the proposed change. There were very few objections to the portions of the change relative to re-zoning the rural lands that are not already zoned to agricultural. Most of the persons appearing or submitting statements believe that the new DeKalb County Unified Comprehensive Plan is good and is working well. Furthermore, most people appear to support the idea of limiting growth to the areas adjacent to existing municipalities. The primary objection had to do with classifying all of the existing parcels that have been zoned in the county to Alegal, non-conforming@. I believe that this is a significant issue that needs to be dealt with so as to protect the owners of these various parcels that have been zoned to something other than agriculture in the past. Several people, including relators, the president of a title company, and others testified that many lenders, especially from outside of the county, and some potential buyers, would be concerned about this situation and would very likely be unwilling to lend against the property or buy the property. Certainly, this could adversely affect the property rights of existing owners and based on my own experience, I believe that this is a substantial problem. One remedy might be to give these properties some other label, other than simply AAgricultural@ and Anon-conforming use@. For example, a residentially zoned parcel might be labeled AA-1, Agriculture (residential)@. This would let the prospective lender or buyer know that this was a residential property. The same could be done for business and commercially zoned properties. There may be another solution, but in any event, the undersigned recommends that some identifying label or designation other than merely Alegal non-conforming@ be given to these properties to help alleviate the potential problem mentioned above.
There was an objection to Section 3.0.8 ADisclosure of Trustee of Land Trust@, however I think this is probably a necessary provision to avoid potential conflicts of interest (for example, where one of the owners of the land trust has some conflict of interest that has not otherwise been disclosed), and I believe this rule has been in effect in the State for some time.
Although there was some criticism of the 40 acre rule, I believe that it is a good rule and should be maintained. It has been in effect for some time and appears to have worked fairly well.
There was very little objection at the public hearing to the Planned Unit Development (PUD) section. Obviously, in the future, when PUD proposals come before the County Board, it will be important to make sure they are in an appropriate location and well planned to carry out the policies of the County. The regulations set forth for Planned Unit Developments appear adequate to the undersigned.
Another frequently heard complaint was that many people needed more time to consider this matter. There have been public informational meetings in addition to the public hearing and the Planning Department and the Zoning and Regulation Committee of the County Board have worked on this proposal for several months. While I agree there is no particular hurry in adopting the ordinance, it does appear to the undersigned that it has been fully and fairly explained to the public and the public has had an adequate opportunity for input.
Another frequently heard complaint was that there is too much regulation and that this simply adds another layer of regulation in the county. In some respects it will decrease the regulation in the county because it simplifies the county zoning ordinance. This will be true as to future development, however, as I stated above, I believe as to the previously zoned properties in the county which are proposed to be legal, non-conforming uses, it will be more complicated and more difficult for the average person to understand. This should be given careful consideration and again, as indicated above, I believe there should be some designation for these properties other than simply calling them A-1, Agricultural, Legal Non-Conforming Uses. To do otherwise is going to be detrimental to many property owners.
The undersigned strongly endorses the concept of protecting and preserving farmland and encouraging development adjacent to the existing municipalities and cities in the county. If growth continues at its present rate around the existing villages and cities in the county, unfortunately much of our prime farmland will be consumed for development, even if this present zoning amendment is adopted.
Accordingly, the undersigned hereby recommends approval of this zoning amendment, subject, however, to the comments and reservations set forth above.
Ronald G. Klein