County fights overlay, may object to drive-in

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11738972385372.jpg’, ‘Photo by Stuart R. Wahlin’, ‘Board members got a sneak peek at the new tee signs adorning golf courses throughout the county.‘);

With a respite from the heated debates that have dominated Winnebago County Board meetings for months, board members enjoyed a relatively brief and demure meeting Mar. 8. A number of important issues, however, were addressed.

Thinking spring

Board members were given a look at the new tee signs being placed on golf courses throughout the county.

The signs, which are funded by advertising revenue, come at no cost to Winnebago County and have a 10- to 12-year life span.

Local firms are able to purchase advertising space on the signs for three-year periods.

The signs first started showing up on area courses in the fall. Despite the limited exposure at the end of the season, more than half a dozen companies have already signed on.

Need for enviormental inventory

During public participation, Mark Dahlgren addressed the 2030 Land Use Plan in development.

Dahlgren, who is on the Environmental Focus Group for the plan, indicated the county has no comprehensive environmental inventory.

“Unfortunately, a professional study of this magnitude would require at least two biologists, over a period, to compile the data of this county’s 500-plus square miles,” Dahlgren reported. “If we are to create an objective land use plan, determination of what there is, and where it is, is necessary.”

Dahlgren added, “Decisions such as slaughterhouses, ethanol plants and subdivisions and whatnot would be far easier to rectify if this informational building-block were in place.”

SupplyCore acquires MAARV assets

Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen congratulated SupplyCore, Inc. on its purchase of the Manufacturing Alliance of the Rock River Valley’s (MARRV) operating assets. (See “SupplyCore hopes to spread DOD wealth” in this issue).

Until now, MARRV has been a not-for-profit aimed at showcasing the region’s manufacturing capabilities.

SupplyCore, a private company, specializes in delivering goods to U.S. military personnel stationed around the world; goods SupplyCore CEO Peter Provenzano said local firms could be manufacturing.

“This is one of those public-private partnerships that work very well,” Christiansen said. “It brings about a tremendous potential, I think, in reaffirming our manufacturing base.”

County joins fight vs. area code overlay

The board unanimously approved a resolution introduced by Executive Committee Chairman Randy Olson (R-1) to urge the Illinois Commerce Commission to reconsider its plan to overlay the new 779 area code into 815.

The resolution reads, in part, “Implementation of this change has greatly inconvenienced our residents and has concerned residents as to those calls being made by children and elderly residents.”

Since Feb. 17, callers have been required to dial “1-815” before placing local calls.

Pete MacKay (R-5) spoke for many when stated simply, “It’s been a pain in the neck.”

The county joins the City of Rockford and State Senator Dave Syverson (R-34) in opposing the overlay.

Olson said Syverson’s office asked the county to take action.

“It’s always helpful to have all the local communities and legislative bodies support an issue,” Olson explained.

“All I know is it’s a population issue where, in the area code, they’ve run out of numbers and need to do something,” Christiansen explained. “I think that the intent of this is to split it somewhere along DeKalb.”

According to the ICC, former Rockford Mayor Charles Box as chairman, public hearings in 2004 determined the overlay was the most popular option.

Olson argued few people ever knew about the public hearings or the plan for the overlay until it was upon us.

“I didn’t know about it personally until my alarm company called me,” Olson noted. “They had to come out and do a service call on my alarm system to add the 815. If they did public hearings, they sure didn’t notify anybody very well.”

Olson said he hopes having a former Rockford mayor as chairman of the ICC might buy some favor in the issue.

“He should understand our concerns here,” Olson said of Box.

“We’re hoping at least with some of the clout that we have in Springfield, that we can at least take a look at it,” Olson added, noting another former Rockford mayor, Doug Scott, has the ear of the governor.

Board disregards Rockford objection

Board members unanimously approved a map amendment to rezone 5.49 acres at 1739 Ogilby Rd., from Agricultural Priority to Rural Agricultural.

A legal objection was received from the City of Rockford, meaning the amendment would need a minimum of 21 votes for passage.

“Even the Zoning Board of Appeals urged unanimous passage,” MacKay argued, adding he couldn’t understand why the city would object to the amendment.

The zoning change is consistent with the county’s land use plan, but since the site is within 1.5 miles of city limits, Rockford may object to any such amendments.

The lot in question is not hooked up to city water or sewer.

“The Health Department will require him to hook up to the sanitary sewer,” John Harmon (R-4) explained. “I suppose the deal between him and the City of Rockford about the water is, if they won’t let him hook up, fine. I guess he’ll have to drill a well.”

Harmon said the Health Department won’t allow a septic system because the property is within 200 feet of the sewer.

The petitioner, Edvin Cruz, wants to build a house on the site and, according to Harmon, will be required to remove “objectionable material” from the property to do so.

“It looks to me the guy’s gonna improve this five-and-a-half acres,” Harmon told fellow board members. “It’s gonna be a lot better-looking place when he’s done.”

County considers objecting to drive-in

MacKay introduced a resolution, co-sponsored by Paul Gorski (D-5), to object to a city zoning amendment that would allow for the re-opening of a drive-in theater in Rockford.

MacKay explained: “It’s a resolution in which I and Mr. Gorski are asking the board to object to the zoning petition before the City of Rockford to zone C-3 the former drive-in theater on Samuelson Road—The Sunset, the former ‘porno-palace.’ It is causing an unbelievably bad situation in the neighborhood.”

The resolution was referred to the Zoning Committee.


The board unanimously approved four appointments to various agencies.

Bernice E. Russell was appointed to a three-year term with the Washington Park Street Light District. Lorraine Thurmond and Flora Williams were reappointed to three-year terms.

Earl Dotson, Jr. was reappointed to the Veterans’ Memorial Hall Board of Trustees for a two-year term.

Dorothy Redd (D-6) was absent.

The Winnebago County Board next meets March 22.

from the issue March 14-20, 2007, issue

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