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Our view: D-155 wastes more taxpayer money

Published: Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

We were disappointed to learn last week that School District 155 plans to appeal a local judge’s decision regarding the new bleachers at Crystal Lake South High School.

The school district and city of Crystal Lake have been at odds since last summer, when the high school tore down its old bleachers and press box, and moved the home bleachers from the east side of the football stadium to the west side.

The west side of the stadium backs into the Amberwood Drive neighborhood, where the new bleachers tower over several homes. Homeowners there filed suit against the district, claiming the district failed to get proper variances for the new bleachers from the city.

Crystal Lake city officials say the bleachers violate three zoning codes: they sit only 41 feet from homeowner’s property when it should be 50 feet or more; they are greater than 600 square feet, which requires a zoning variance; the press box and the top of the bleachers are too tall, which requires a height variance.

The school district maintains that it does not need city approval. It claims it only needed approval from the Regional Office of Education, which it received.

But the school district has gone through the city’s zoning process for many other projects. Why not this one?

Regardless, in a ruling last month, Judge Michael Chmiel sided with residents and the city and ordered the district to go through the city’s zoning process.

But last week, the school district said it would appeal Chmiel’s ruling.

More delays.

More lawyers’ fees.

More taxpayer money being wasted.

We think Chmiel’s ruling was the correct one and will stand up to an appeal.

Regardless the outcome, District 155’s relationship with the city and its neighbors have soured because of the poor way the district has handled this issue from the beginning.

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