Marengo annexation vote delayed

Riley Township supervisor, Marengo mayor clash during public comment

MARENGO – The Marengo City Council decided Monday to wait until April 8 to vote on the three initial annexation deals that would cut into Riley Township and put city limits closer to Interstate 90.

City officials indicated last week that the council would not vote on at least two annexation deals that has drawn the ire of Riley officials upset at how the city has handled expanding its boundaries.

But the agreement with Chicago Title Land Trust Co. to add its 750 acres into Marengo also did not see a council vote Monday, because both parties still are finalizing terms.

Aldermen wasted no time Monday in postponing the vote on all three deals. They began the meeting by voting, 5-0, to postpone the measures until April 8, before entering the public comment portion of the meeting.

Riley Supervisor Karen Schnable then approached the podium to speak about an issue concering the annexations.

Mayor Don Lockhart rebuffed the supervisor, arguing she couldn’t speak about anything related to
annexation because the council no longer would be voting on those agenda items.

“Everything else has been removed, so we are not talking about it,” Lockhart said. “It’s gone. If you wish, come back on April 8, and you can speak all you want.”

Schnable said after the meeting that she was “disappointed” that the council wouldn’t let her speak about the issue. She said the council purposely started the meeting with the motion to postpone the three deals to deny public comment on the issue.

“They should have at least listened to me,” Schnable said. “They shouldn’t have turned me off and said they didn’t want to talk to me.”

Schnable was planning to speak about an environmental report required by state law for any farmland subject to a zoning change. She argued the city is refusing to conduct the report.

The city’s three annexation deals would alter zoning classificiations for almost 1,400 acres west of Route 23 currently zoned agricultural under McHenry County regulations.

City officials are trying to extend its boundaries to I-90 to formally start talking with the Illinois Tollway Authority on financing an interchange project.

City officials have argued that a full interchange is the pivotal piece to future city development that includes a mixture of commercial, residential and industrial expansion south and west of Marengo’s existing borders.

City administrators originally had wanted the council to vote Monday on the Chicago Title deal, plus two others between VCNA Prairie and A.R. Land Co. The related zoning recommendations attached to the VCNA and A.R. Land deals also were postponed until April 8.