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MCC plans for water rules

College changes direction to comply with Crystal Lake watershed ordinance

CRYSTAL LAKE – After being soundly rejected by the Crystal Lake City Council last week, McHenry County College officials say they have a contingency plan to meet parameters in the city's watershed ordinance.

The college previously had accepted plans to rebuild two of its deteriorating parking lots, but first had to seek a temporary deferment on a portion of Crystal Lake's watershed ordinance.

The city ordinance is designed to protect its sensitive watershed from contamination. The college wanted a waiver, for up to eight years, on a condition in the ordinance that requires a three-tiered filtration system near the parking lot area. To comply, the college would have had to tear up its ball fields under its initial plan, but after meeting with Crystal Lake city staff it decided the system could be moved.

MCC President Vicky Smith told trustees on Thursday that Crystal Lake staff previously indicated the deferment would be accepted by the city council.

"We are in no way interested in bypassing the watershed ordinance," Smith said. "Only at advice of [Crystal Lake city] staff did we ask for that deferment."

The City Council unanimously denied the college’s request, and chided the college for not planning better.

“A good long-term plan is knowing what the ordinances are and planning for them accordingly,” Councilwoman Cathy Ferguson said at the time.

MCC Board of Trustees earlier this year approved rebuilding parking lots B and D for a cost not to exceed $2.3 million. The cost to install the filtration system is not yet known.

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