Will County Republican Caucus Committee met March 11.
Will County Republican Caucus Committee met March 11.
Here is the minutes as provided by the Committee:
I. CALL TO ORDER
Majority Whip Mike Fricilone called the meeting to order at 8:40 AM
Attendee Name Title Status Arrived
Charles E. Maher Majority Leader Absent
Mike Fricilone Majority Whip Present
Jim Moustis County Board Speaker Present
Steve Balich Member Present
Darren Bennefield Member Absent
Gloria Dollinger Member Absent
Gretchen Fritz Member Present
Donald Gould Member Absent
Suzanne Hart Member Absent
Tim Kraulidis Member Absent
Judy Ogalla Member Present
Annette Parker Member Present
Cory Singer Member Present
Ray Tuminello Member Absent
Tom Weigel Member Present
Present for State's Attorney's Office: M. Tatroe.
II. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG
Mrs. Ogalla led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
III. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
IV. OLD BUSINESS
Ms. Sandy Rennie read the attached statement regarding Lenny's Gas & Wash.
Mr. Moustis stated no final decision has been made, but the State's Attorney's Office is
not inclined to appeal the decision. An appeal has to say a Judge did something wrong or
you have extraordinary evidence that was not presented. This type of decision is
extremely, almost impossible to overturn.
Ms. Linda Arnold stated thank you for your time. I wanted to stress our disappointment
for the four and half years of hard work the community went through. We did this to
protect our families. Our homes are supposed to be our sanctuary where we are able to
be at peace and have confidence we are safe. I testified during the hearing. I had several
conversations with Attorney Matt Guzman and explained in detail my experience. I was a
processor, underwriter and officer in the mortgage field for over 20 years. I had training
on how to review appraisals; what it takes to have a property devalued and what an
appraiser would have to consider. My job was to analyze the reports of appraiser,
surveyors and credit reporting companies and make decisions. Mr. Wennlund asked me
if I was a certified appraiser. I was told I could only answer questions I am asked. That
was how it went while I was on the stand. I was made to look like a fool and he had all
kinds of information; he could have asked me questions on what I did and how I did it. I
had documentation on appraisals, what an appraiser has to document, if there are any
adverse site conditions or external factors. That information goes on the appraisal. FHA
documents require an answer to "is there is a storage tank that holds over 100 gallons of
flammable, explosive material within 300 feet of a property". If the answer is yes the
property in ineligible. I could have talked about that, but I was not allowed to do so. I
wasn't an FHA underwriter, I didn't need to be; I worked for banks that purchased the
loans and sold them. I am very confused. This was a self-created hardship; he could have
spent more time talking about the fact it was denied and then he purchased the
property. He could have provided the proof by showing the I-1 Statement and the sales
contract with the dates on them. That was barely talked about. Our properties are now
unique; there are no other home with a property like this within one mile of our property
with a business like this next to it. There could have been more witnesses. He made me
assume he was using me for this information. When we walked in; I told him I had all
kinds of information if you want to hear it. His response was "you only answer what I ask
you". I was not asked questions about this. That was very disappointing. To everything I
said the Plaintiff's attorney would wave his arms and yell “hearsay” and “objection”. One
of his witnesses was able to testify he was told the landlord for Dunkin Donuts is not able
to pay rent. That sounds like hearsay, but is in the Judge's record. I am confused on why
this information by his witnesses able to be used? Ms. Rennie, my husband and I sat in
the hallway for three days because we were all on the witness list. I was the only person
called to testify. The Judge said I was the only resident called, but there were others
available. After all the work we did, it is disappointing to see that when it was something
we had no control over it got turned around on us; after all the information we have;
proof, documentation proving this was a self-created hardship. He bought the property
after the use was denied. He knew it was denied. He never changed any of his plans; they
are the exact same development that he brought forward the first time.
Mr. Moustis stated it is up to the State's Attorney to determine whether they have a
reason to appeal.
Ms. Rennie stated I don't understand how this went from this about you to a
presentation he should have presented to all of you. That is what was wrong in this
Ms. Arnold stated he had witnesses talk about things that were not talked about at the
Board meeting. That is what I don't understand. He brought a traffic person and a noise
person, none of that was presented to the Board.
Ms. Rennie continued that is why it doesn't seem fair.
Mrs. Ogalla asked who represented the residents?
Mr. Moustis replied no one, the State's Attorney represented the County Board.
A discussion took place regarding what was and was not presented at the hearing.
Mr. Moustis stated I have read the Judge's ruling, but I have not read the transcripts.
Mrs. Tatroe stated the Judge had all of the testimony that was presented to the County
Board through the Land Use Committee and PZC was entered as evidence.
Mr. Moustis stated we will talk about this in Executive Session on Thursday and whether
we want to press the State's Attorney or if the State's Attorney would be willing to
A discussion of the parameters for appeal took place.
Mr. Moustis stated the full County Board will have to vote on Thursday. You have the
right to speak to the Board during the Public Comment portion of the meeting. You can
make a plea if you think there is additional or new evidence that the State's Attorney
Mrs. Tatroe stated no matter the Board’s decision; ultimately this is the decision of the
State's Attorney. The State's Attorney must consider the resources available and whether
there is a possibility of prevailing. That decision will have to be made.
Mr. Moustis stated when you look at the Judge's conclusions he talks about the Highway
Commissioner and his fears of the unknown. He also stated that Ms. Arnold admitted she
got her neighbors to oppose it. He lists everyone's testimony; when it came to Mr.
Fricilone, Mr. Balich and Ms. Collins he simply stated "there was a consensus among
County Board Members that Mr. Jim Moustis strong armed and harassed people to
vote". That is not what Mr. Fricilone or Mr. Balich said.
Suggestions were made that the residents hire an attorney to represent their interest.
Mr. Moustis stated this doesn't help you; but we have changed the Ordinance. If a
majority of the County Board does not request an appeal, it will not get appealed.
Understand that State's Attorney will look at each case as decide if they can prevail or
not. I don't like the Judge's ruling; I still think at when you look at it, his ruling is based on
V. NEW BUSINESS
1. Discussion Re: Forest Preserve
A review of the Proclamations took place and a discussion regarding criteria for
Proclamations and what will be read from the desk or at the podium.
Mr. Fricilone asked that Ms. Freitag to create some guidelines and criteria for
Proclamations and have both Caucuses approve.
Mr. Moustis suggested the recipients be told to limit their comments to no more
than two minutes.
Mr. Fricilone suggested special months should not be mentioned every year.
4. Discussion of County Board Agenda
Land Use & Development Committee:
Mr. Weigel reviewed the Zoning Cases and Resolutions.
A brief discussion took place regarding the objector and comments on Zoning Case
Mr. Moustis stated we have a list of concerns since the rewrite of the Ordinance.
We have acted on some of them, such as the different classifications of gas
stations. We still have a long list. I would like to see the areas that have come up
as being problematic. We have spent a large amount of time on ECHO housing,
tiny houses and trailers. I would like to have something sent to all the County
Board Members if they have any issues or concerns now is the time to come and
talk to the consultant so they know the areas we definitely want addressed.
Mr. Fricilone asked what will the timeframe be for this project?
Mr. Weigel indicated it would be approximately six months.
Mr. Moustis asked Mrs. Tatroe to make suggestions on areas that should be
addressed from the standpoint of the State's Attorney's Office.
Mr. Balich explained an issue in his district where a truck terminal is being put in
next to the unincorporated area.
Mr. Moustis stated this is not part of our Ordinance and there is very little we can
do about this. If something goes on inside a municipality we are at the mercy of
the municipality. We have to work with them to mitigate impact the
unincorporated landowners are concerned about. Because this is trucking; I
assume there are EPA rules that could be involved. The municipal entities have
more ability than the County or the townships.
Mrs. Tatroe stated if you are talking about an emissions issue that would be the
responsibility of the EPA. Our office has been involved in dumping clean ups. We
don't get involved in anything else; that is regulated by the State EPA. There is not
much we can do if it is a development within a municipality.
Mr. Moustis stated it is different in the unincorporated areas. The municipalities
get a mile and half area they can comment on and impact. They can also file legal
objections in instances, such as a map amendments.
Mr. Balich stated one of the major issues is the trucks going into the nearby
subdivisions when they get lost. They are too big to turnaround so the run over
lawns. According to the Sheriff they can ticket them for a sign violation when they
are overweight. They are coming to me and asking what can I do; I have to tell
them nothing. Can we address this in our Ordinance?
Mr. Fricilone replied we can't address anything that is not in our jurisdiction.
Mr. Singer stated that property was zoned industrial over a decade ago. They
followed all of the procedures. They actually gave concessions they were not
required to, just to get through the issues. The city could add signs to direct the
traffic. The companies who own or develop buildings in that park can take steps to
educate the drivers where they can and cannot go.
Mr. Moustis reiterated there is nothing we can do about municipalities impacting
the unincorporated areas.
Mrs. Parker stated there is a truck repair company in Lockport. They have been in
violation of Land Use zoning numerous times. The workers are standing in the road to stop traffic as the truck enter the facility. I contacted Land Use and they
wrote another violation to clean up. They did surveillance and were mortified by
what they are doing. They called the State Police, but they don't have the
manpower to watch what they are doing. People are complaining.
Mr. Moustis suggested having the Sheriff send deputies out.
Mrs. Parker continued the Sheriff has been contacted, but they have not had any
complaints and when they do a drive by everything is fine. Land Use had hours of
footage of them stopping traffic.
Mr. Moustis asked Mrs. Tatroe when does the State's Attorney get involved.
Mrs. Tatroe stated usually we get involved when things come from the Sheriff or
Land Use. We don't go out and investigate. I would be interested in seeing the
video and running it past one of our criminal assistants to see if there is enough to
charge based on the video.
Mrs. Parker stated Land Use says they have done all they can at this time. I have
driven by and it does appear some of the property has been cleaned up.
Mr. Moustis stated they probably did just enough to satisfy Land Use that they
made a good faith effort.
Mr. Fricilone reviewed the Resolutions.
Mr. Moustis stated we are having ongoing conversations about the PBC. We need
to come to resolution with our agreement with Kankakee County before we do
anything. There are a number of things we need to do. Mr. Fricke talked about
arbitrage. I was thinking that should have been done before, but he said there is
money and you need to figure out if the money goes to the Feds. These bonds
were issued in the mid-1990s. It is complicated because the leases are with the
PBC, not the County. I did request a Resolution to direct the PBC to pay Mr. Fricke,
but he is going to work with us to resolve this issue. He will bring in some
specialized tax people for the arbitrage. Kankakee County is in arrears; how do we
handle that. Kankakee withdrew $350,000 from their maintenance account for
their last bond payment, which has shorted that account. We no longer need a
trustee, but Mr. Fricke suggested not getting rid of the trustee until all the issues
are resolved. Kankakee County does have a levy for their portion of River Valley,
because they were outside the cap.
Mrs. Tatroe stated if they are out or if they don't have a lease agreement they
have no expenditures to put down to justify the levy.
Mr. Fricilone stated I thought they did have the bond payment, but they didn't pay
Mr. Moustis stated they kept the money. That is another issue. Did they divert the
money for another use? That would not only be inappropriate, it would be illegal.
The tax objectors could come in and they would wipe out the levy. That is a big
issue for them if they are diverting the money for another purpose. Mr. Roger
Holland said they are $700,000 in arrears on the operational side. Kankakee now
owes us $1 million. That is not the kind of partner I want. This is becoming
complex. We have to get things in order and then we will take the next step of
letting the PBC go dormant. There are no projects. We could give them a very
small levy and they could meet twice a year. We want to keep the levy in place
because we will use the PBC again in the future.
Public Works & Transportation Committee:
Mr. Weigel reviewed the Resolutions.
Judicial Committee: No discussion.
Public Health & Safety Committee:
Mrs. Ogalla reviewed the Resolution.
Legislative & Policy Committee: No discussion.
Capital Improvements Committee:
Mr. Fricilone reviewed the Resolution.
Mr. Moustis led a discussion on the property swap with the City of Joliet.
Mrs. Tatroe stated the City sent us three different agreements. Two of the
agreements will not be ready by the County Board Meeting. Due to a decision in
1960; this requires the Chief Judge to give approval for anything we do with the
property. We need to petition the court and there is no way we can petition the
court before Thursday. It will happen in April.
Mr. Moustis suggested a special County Board meeting, if it was necessary to
approve the agreement before the April meeting.
Mr. Moustis reviewed the Resolutions.
A discussion took place regarding the BP Pipeline resolution.
Mrs. Tatroe indicated we are still waiting for an agreement.
A discussion took place regarding the Amazon facility and the potential traffic
VI. COMMITTEE REPORTS
1. Land Use & Development
3. Public Works & Transportation
5. Public Health & Safety
6. Legislative & Policy
7. Capital Improvements
VII. OTHER NEW BUSINESS
Mrs. Jakaitis stated Ms. Freitag asked me to let you know that the County Board has a
Facebook page. She will be working with Sarah from Mack Communications to put out
more press releases and putting those on the Facebook page.
Mr. Weigel indicated he sent an e-mail to Ms. Freitag regarding leaf burning and if we
could limit the number of days burning is allowed. I am still getting complaints from the
community. There are many people with respiratory ailments and they complain about
the leaf burning.
Mrs. Tatroe stated as long as you are consistent with everyone in the unincorporated
area, this is possible.
Mr. Moustis stated rather than say you can only burn during these two days; I prefer to
allow burning over a two week period only.
Discussion took place regarding burning in the unincorporated area; the exemption of Ag
zoning; limiting use to certain days and the use of machines and cost to pick up leaves.
Mr. Moustis stated we did ask for an update on the number of burning complaints. Most
of the time the people burning are in violation of our current ordinance.
Mr. Singer stated we have discussed this for 12 years and still have no resolution. You are
asking to take away the right from somebody that they have had for as long as they have
lived in the unincorporated area, because someone moves next and they don't like that
they can burn. I don't like when my neighbors burn their leaves, but it is their right.
When you purchase a home, you should take the time to find out what can or cannot be
done on the neighboring property and because you did not do that; then you want the
other persons’ rights taken away. I don't think that should be the spirit of our local
government. It will be extremely difficult to communicate changes. People have been
able to burn any day of the week and now you are changing it so they can only do it two
days a week. How do you enforce this? Government cannot fix what neighbors should be
doing on their own.
Mr. Moustis explained the provisions within the current ordinance and how most
property owners within subdivisions cannot burn legally. Generally you need two acres in
order to burn.
Mr. Weigel stated there are instances where people are burning garbage daily.
Mrs. Tatroe replied they are in violation of the ordinance and it has become an
Mr. Weigel led a discussion of the subdivision engineer.
Mr. Moustis explained Mr. Bruce Gould was the acting subdivision engineer and Mr.
Ronaldson does not feel qualified. Mr. Gould did not either, but used HR Green to do this
with the Highway Department absorbing the costs. You cannot consult for a subdivision
engineer; you have to have an in-house engineer. Mr. Gould used HR Green, but he
signed the documents. Mr. Ronaldson is signing but he is not comfortable. He does not
Mr. Singer stated there is a major difference in their experience regarding stormwater
management, stormwater, land planning and civil engineering with an emphasis on
transportation and roadways. Mr. Ronaldson is signing off on the recommendation of HR
Green; but ultimately, if there is a problem it is his stamp, not HR Green.
Mrs. Tatroe added your ordinance does require that you have someone on staff. Hiring a
consultant puts them in a place where they are reviewing plans created by their
competition, so there is a conflict issue; or we have to hire outside to review their plans,
because they are not just working for us; they creating and planning developments. You
don't have to hire someone full time; you could hire a retired engineer who will come in
a few hours each month. Our ordinance does provide if the subdivision engineer is so
backed up, the developer can request that we hire someone from the outside to review
the plans; but they have to pay for a consultant. The way the County's ordinance is
written they are to be on staff. I have not looked to see if it relies on state regulations.
Mr. Moustis stated one reason we got away from hiring a subdivision engineer is
because we could not find one in our salary range.
Mrs. Ogalla stated there are two different areas where there are stormwater issues
coming off subdivisions. If someone reviewed and signed off, it did not work for the local
areas. Examples were given.
Mr. Moustis stated I have no objection to hiring a subdivision engineer. I think it should
be someone under your control and who takes your direction. We have budgeted for an
engineer. We need to determine the demand of a subdivision engineer.
A discussion took place regarding minor subdivisions.
Mr. Weigel stated Land Use does not want a full time subdivision engineer; there is not
Mr. Moustis asked Mrs. Tatroe to review the ordinance to see if we added a subdivision
engineer because we decided that was what we wanted or if that is something done by
statute. If we don't need to have that as part of our ordinance; we should revise the
ordinance to allow us to hire a consulting engineer as a subdivision engineer. We could
also contract with more than one firm to avoid conflict.
Mr. Moustis stated we are still looking at candidates to fill the vacancy in District 6. If we
are not prepared we will have to call a Special meeting in May because of the 60 day
VIII. CHAIRMAN'S REPORT / ANNOUNCEMENTS
IX. PUBLIC COMMENTS
1. Motion to Adjourn at 10:20 AM