Kankakee County Planning, Zoning and Agriculture Committee met August 16.
Kankakee County Planning, Zoning and Agriculture Committee met Aug. 16.
Here is the minutes provided by the Committee:
Members Present Mr. Olthoff, Mr. Tripp, Mr. Washington, Ms. Polk, Ms. Peters, Mr. Payton, and Mr. Ritter Members Absent Mr. Einfeldt, Mr. Tholen, Mr. Mulcahy, Mr. Byrne, Mr. Hildebrand, and Ms. Dunbar In Attendance
• Board Members Mr. Wheeler and Mr. Liehr
• Department Heads Delbert Skimerhorn, Kevin Duval, and Erich Blair
• Media None
1. Call to Order/Roll Call The meeting was called to order by the Committee Chairman, Mr. Olthoff, at 9:00 a.m. Quorum present.
2. Public Comment None
3. Approval of Minutes: July 19, 2017 A motion was made by Mr. Washington to approve the minutes, and Ms. Polk seconded it. Motion carried with a voice vote.
4. Building - Delbert Skimerhorn
• Building Report: July 2017 None
• Open Position - Building Inspector Mr. Skimerhorn stated that Gary Phillips will be retiring as building inspector as of October 31st
. His departure will leave them with two building inspectors with a combined experience of less than three years. The intention is to move Steve Marion into Mr. Phillips’ position, and then replace Mr. Marion. He is asking permission to post the position. Mr. Wheeler made a motion to approve the posting of the position, and Mr. Washington seconded it. Motion carried with a voice vote.
• Planning Vehicles Mr. Skimerhorn stated that they currently have four Chevy Impalas that are 13 years old, and they have between 120,000 and 160,000 miles on them. Repair expenses have doubled since last year, and are now over $7,000 this year. There is no line item in his budget and no plan to replace them, but the vehicles will need to be replaced.
Mr. Tripp asked if it was possible to let inspectors drive their own vehicles and have the department pay for mileage.
Ms. Peters stated that there is no money in the budget this year, but they could possibly replace one vehicle next year. She stated that they could not replace all four at one time.
Mr. Duval stated that they received legal advice that there was liability if employees were to use their own vehicles, and that is why vehicles were purchased in 2004.
Mr. Wheeler stated that he wanted to remind the committee that there was an authorized purchase by the Criminal Justice Committee of 11 Chevy Tahoes for $450,000, so the situation needs to be balanced.
Mr. Tripp asked if a pickup truck would be better for the department.
Mr. Skimerhorn stated that it wouldn’t be better, as most of what they haul has to be enclosed. He stated that a four-wheel drive SUV would be ideal. Ms. Peters made a motion to send a request to the Finance Committee for new vehicles for the Planning Department, and Mr. Washington seconded it. Motion carried with a voice vote.
• Surplus Equipment - SHOWBUS Radios Mr. Olson stated that last July SHOWBUS purchased new radios from a capital grant by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) as the systems are being converted from analog to digital. He currently has nine GTX radios that were purchased in 2001, ten Motorola radios, and two portable Motorola radios that were purchased in 2010. All were purchased with federal funds, not local funds. IDOT has given them permission to dispose of them. Ms. Peters made a motion to approve the disposal of surplus equipment, and Mr. Payton seconded it. Motion carried with a voice vote.
• Authorization to Sign Consultant Agreement for CLG Grant Michelle Sadler stated that in December 2016 they asked for approval to apply for the 2017 CLG grant, and were awarded the grant. They then hired a historic preservation consultant and are now asking for authorization to sign a consultant agreement for the CLG grant. They already have approval from the State’s Attorney’s Office. Mr. Washington made a motion to approve signing of the agreement, and Mr. Tripp seconded it. Motion carried with voice vote.
• Plaque for Kankakee County Courthouse Ms. Sadler stated that they also received the 2015 CLG grant, and a result is a plaque for the Kankakee County Courthouse. She presented the plaque to Mr. Wheeler.
• Domestic Fowl - Discussion Mr. Skimerhorn stated that over the past few years, the department has had many inquiries about regulations for allowing chickens and ducks in residential districts, basically in backyards of homes. Currently, the ordinance does not permit those. Anthony Cook spoke with Roger Hess, and Mr. Hess is willing to sponsor a text amendment to the ordinance that would allow this.
Mr. Skimerhorn then introduced Mr. Cook who gave a presentation on the benefits of domestic fowl and some the possible regulations, and will be asking the committee if they would like us to move forward with actually writing an ordinance to be adopted in the future.
Mr. Wheeler stated that he has a license to have backyard chickens, and had his property zoning changed as he lives within the City of Kankakee. Major cities allow backyard chickens. Much of what Mr. Cook said is accurate; however, the size of the flock limitations is standard. He encourages the committee to approve the ordinance, and acknowledges that an operation is only as good as the caregiver. Something like this definitely makes the county more attractive to live in when things like this happen.
Mr. Tripp stated that he supports the ordinance, but they would need to refine the size of flock limitations.
Mr. Liehr asked if the animals would be classified as pets and, if so, would it be administered through Animal Control.
Mr. Skimerhorn stated that as of now this is just for zoning.
Mr. Wheeler stated that he was going to bring this to the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, then to the Community Services Committee.
Mr. Washington stated that he is amazed that this was not discussed in the past as he comes from a rural setting, and he is in full support of the ordinance. Mr. Washington made a motion to move the proposal to the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, and Ms. Peters seconded it. Motion carried with a voice vote.
Mr. Cook stated that with the roosters, they would be considerate to neighbors, and possibly get permission from the neighbors within a certain radius, so that way roosters could possibly be permitted.
• 14971 E. 5000 N Road, Momence Property Presentation/Discussion Mr. Skimerhorn stated that they have received numerous public comments from a gentleman accusing their office of not doing their job. The complainant stated that his neighbor keeps junk on the property and does not use building permits. Mr. Skimerhorn wanted to make sure that everyone understands the responsibilities of the Planning Department. He then showed a PowerPoint presentation to the committee.
Mr. Olthoff asked if the complainant was given a copy of presentation that Mr. Skimerhorn just gave to the committee.
Mr. Skimerhorn stated that he was, and that he also had a meeting for hour and a half in his office with the complainant, but he keeps changing what he is complaining about.
Mr. Payton asked how long the complaining neighbor has lived there.
Mr. Skimerhorn stated that he has lived there since 1999. He claimed the fences were constructed from used materials. That’s true because the owner recycled the corn crib that he had taken down and used it for some of his fencing. There is no code against using recycled or used materials. He complained of manure piling up on the fence, so the owner put a small dirt berm along the fence. The Health Department has been out there, and found no issues. There was a claim of 20 horses and 40 cows being there, but when Mr. Skimerhorn visited, he only counted 20 cows and no horses. The complainant also claimed that a rodeo was being operated there, but there is no evidence and no other complaints from other residents. There was a claim of 15 people living in the home, but when Mr. Skimerhorn visited on Thursday, he saw two men, a woman, and a child. The complainant thinks that Mr. Skimerhorn is wrong, but the ordinance spells out a path for him to take. The authority to interpret that ordinance is vested in the Planning Director, the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), and the Illinois courts. If the complainant would like to challenge Mr. Skimerhorn’s interpretation, he can file an appeal with the ZBA. If he doesn’t like what the ZBA has to say about it, he can appeal to the courts. It is Mr. Skimerhorn’s understanding that the courts will not hear a case unless the complainant has exhausted his administrative remedies, which would be going before the ZBA. It would be the same thing with the building codes. If he doesn’t believe us, he can appeal it, but it’s not the ZBA then. The whole process is similar, except that it’s the Board of Examiners, who is the authority on building codes. The complainant has done neither of these, but has been told about it. In conclusion, the property is agriculturally exempt from our zoning ordinance and our building codes. It complied with our zoning ordinance even though it doesn’t have to. The buildings are exempt from our building codes. The property and its’ farm operation are protected by State statute, and the complainant has recourse if he doesn’t believe this interpretation.
7. Old Business
8. New Business
9. Adjournment Ms. Peters made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 10:12 a.m., and it was seconded by Mr. Washington. Motion carried with a voice vote.
Bill Olthoff, Committee Chairman Diane Owens, Executive Coordinator