- The Rock River Times - http://rockrivertimes.com -
Rodeo saddling up for another ride?
Posted By Staff On November 25, 2009 @ 8:00 am In News | No Comments
By Stuart R. Wahlin
There have been cement trucks, sounds of heavy machinery, and trucks loaded with construction materials coming and going. That much is certain. But out of view from nearby roadways, passersby can only wonder what’s going on at 14852 Hauley Road in Shirland Township.
“We can’t see it,” one nearby resident said, “but we sure can hear it.”
From the adjacent Sugar River Forest Preserve, however, the new 200-foot-long structure on the property is hard to miss.
Winnebago County Forest Preserve District Director of Land & Development Tom Hartley responded, “I have not seen the construction personally, but in checking with our area manager, he did not report anything that we should be concerned about, and we have not had any complaints from preserve users reported to us.”
Complaints and concerns were lodged with the county, however, but inspections by building and zoning staff determined the new outbuilding is in compliance.
The property, owned by Enrique Jaime, was the subject of controversy a year ago when Jaime applied for a special-use permit (SUP) “to allow a recreational facility/commercial entertainment/tourist establishment for an outdoor rodeo facility and equestrian riding trails” in an agricultural district.
Jaime applied for the permit after county officials discovered he’d already been advertising and hosting rodeo and equestrian events—complete with grandstand seating, concessions and portable toilets.
Jaime, who acknowledged charging $10 for admission—later calling it a donation—said he’d not been aware such an operation did not conform to zoning ordinances.
“It was something just for friends and family. Well, people heard about it and started coming. I started getting more and more people. So, with that, there is a need for a place like this,” Jaime told the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) at a hearing spread over two nights. “It didn’t start out for the public. It ended up that way.”
Also during testimony, it was alleged some people living in the area “don’t want to come in and say anything, because they’re afraid that Mr. Jaime will retaliate against them.”
During the hearing, some neighbors complained about previous rodeos on the property, and expressed concerns about traffic safety, drinking, sanitation, the effect on property values, animal welfare and waste, litter, trespassing and crowd control—but mostly about the noise.
Another area resident told The Rock River Times, “The noise is so bad that we can’t even enjoy our property because of it when he does have ’em.”
Police have responded to noise complaints associated with the events, but reached for comment in August, Jaime argued noise wasn’t the real issue.
“They’re coming out under the pretense that they say it’s a noise problem, when it really isn’t. There is no noise problem out there,” he asserted. “They just don’t like the Mexicans coming into the neighborhood and getting together there. That’s what my neighbors tell me.”
During the ZBA hearing, it was noted Jaime had been charged with alleged horse-tripping, an event in which contestants earn points for dropping galloping horses or cattle to the ground by lassoing their forelegs.
Jaime emphatically denied the allegation.
“I haven’t thrown a rope in six years,” he told the ZBA. “That wasn’t the reason they came out. They were looking for an excuse to come onto my property, and it wasn’t horse-tripping.
“I mean, I had…agents in my house,” he noted, “For horse-tripping? I don’t think so.”
According to court records, Jaime pleaded guilty in January to the horse-tripping charge, a misdemeanor, subsequently completing six months of court supervision.
Dec. 11, 2008, the Winnebago County Board unanimously rejected Jaime’s petition for an SUP. But as long as the rodeos are not advertised and no money changes hands, board members admitted, little can be done to stop them—and they did continue.
When county officials got their hands on a flier advertising an Aug. 1 rodeo to be held at Jaime’s ranch, an injunction was filed, causing cancellation of what Jaime described as a private party. Litigation in the matter is ongoing, and a preliminary injunction remains in effect.
Since then, residents say, things have been a lot quieter. That is, until recently.
“This started up a couple weeks ago when I got a call from a constituent who lives out there,” explained County Board member Steve Schultz (R-2). “He was concerned about a lot of material being brought in, so I called [Winnebago County Planning & Zoning Officer] Troy Krup. I asked him to check into it.
“He sent somebody out there one day, and he went by himself and felt intimidated to go on the property, so he went back the next day with two people,” Schultz reported. “What they concluded was, ‘Well, he’s just building a road, and the combination of the concrete and the rebar would explain all this huge amount of material.’
“Subsequent to that, within a few days, there was another constituent who called me. He said he’d been in the forest preserve and took some photos of this building, this great big building, that’s being built on the back of the property on the forest preserve side,” Schultz said. “I called Troy Krup back, asked him if he would check it out. I said: ‘You’re being told part of the story. Yes, they built this roadway, but they also are building this outbuilding.’ Well, he looked in the records and, yes, he had received permission to build an ag-exempt building on that portion of the property.”
Nov. 16, Krup made an unannounced visit, during which he snapped photos of the new structure. In his report to Schultz, Krup acknowledged a large exercise and training area within the building, but stated: “There were no bleachers or any other evidence that he was using the building inappropriately. He received clearance on this building approximately a year ago.”
After reviewing the photos, Schultz indicated: “It has stables. It has an arena-type area, but the explanation was this was just for the training of his own horses. There were no bleachers. There’s nothing like grandstands or anything like that, like he has put outdoors.”
Referencing particular photos, however, Krup noted, “The grading pics show where he moved dirt to level off the rear of the building for a possible future addition.”
Schultz indicated he wouldn’t be surprised if Jaime is planning indoor events.
“He came for the zoning, did not get it,” Schultz said, “and still held numerous rodeo events after that. In light of that conduct, I would think that the likelihood is fairly high that he may have some events, and move it indoors, because it’s obviously that much more difficult to police, or to identify what’s being done where.”
Next month, having been a year since his request was denied, Jaime will technically be eligible to apply for another SUP. But until the matter of the county’s injunction is settled, Schultz is doubtful such a request will be made.
“It seems to me that he would at least want to delay it until that issue has been resolved,” he added. “Although, maybe not.”
Jaime could not be reached for comment.
From the November 25-December 1, 2009 issue
Article printed from The Rock River Times: http://rockrivertimes.com
URL to article: http://rockrivertimes.com/2009/11/25/rodeo-saddling-up-for-another-ride/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://delicious.com/post?url=http%3A%2F%2Frockrivertimes.com%2F2009%2F11%2F25%2Frodeo-saddling-up-for-another-ride%2F&title=Rodeo+saddling+up+for+another+ride%3F
 Image: http://digg.com/submit?url=http%3A%2F%2Frockrivertimes.com%2F2009%2F11%2F25%2Frodeo-saddling-up-for-another-ride%2F&title=Rodeo+saddling+up+for+another+ride%3F&bodytext=By+Stuart+R.+Wahlin%0D%0AStaff+Writer%0D%0AThere+have+been+cement+trucks%2C+sounds+of+heavy+machinery%2C+and+trucks+loaded+with+construction+materials+coming+and+going.+That+much+is+certain.+But+out+of+view+from+nearby+roadways%2C+passersby+can+only+wonder+what%E2%80%99s+going+on+at+14852+Hauley+Road+in+Shirland+Township.%0D%0A%E2%80%9CWe+can%E2%80%99t+s
 Image: http://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Frockrivertimes.com%2F2009%2F11%2F25%2Frodeo-saddling-up-for-another-ride%2F&t=Rodeo+saddling+up+for+another+ride%3F
 Image: http://www.reddit.com/submit?url=http%3A%2F%2Frockrivertimes.com%2F2009%2F11%2F25%2Frodeo-saddling-up-for-another-ride%2F&title=Rodeo+saddling+up+for+another+ride%3F
 Image: http://www.stumbleupon.com/submit?url=http%3A%2F%2Frockrivertimes.com%2F2009%2F11%2F25%2Frodeo-saddling-up-for-another-ride%2F&title=Rodeo+saddling+up+for+another+ride%3F
 Image: http://twitter.com/home/?status=http%3A%2F%2Frockrivertimes.com%2F2009%2F11%2F25%2Frodeo-saddling-up-for-another-ride%2F
 Image: http://rockrivertimes.com/2009/11/25/rodeo-saddling-up-for-another-ride/feed
Copyright © 2009 The Rock River Times. All rights reserved.