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Unified development ordinance headed to public review

Review of unified ordinance finalized

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 8:02 p.m. CDT

WOODSTOCK – McHenry County's proposed Unified Development Ordinance will go to public review starting the first week in April.

After about a year of joint meetings, the County Board Planning and Development Committee and the Zoning Board of Appeals are scheduled to move the ordinance forward next Wednesday. The public review process will start with public presentations to be hosted by the Zoning Board of Appeals, planning committee Chairman Joe Gottemoller, R-Crystal Lake, said.

Both groups met Wednesday to finish the review of the second draft – they have met to review the ordinance at least 32 times since 2013. Work began on the ordinance three years ago, following the 2010 ratification of the 2030 Land Use Plan.

The 300-page, 20-chapter ordinance updates county government's zoning, sign, subdivision and other ordinances and combines them into one document. It only applies to unincorporated areas and does not supersede municipalities that have enacted their own zoning ordinances.

Times, dates and places of the public reviews of the ordinance will be announced after the joint committee moves it forward. The zoning board will amend the final draft based on public comments, which will go to the Planning and Development Committee and then the full County Board for ratification, which likely will take place this fall.

The ordinance attempts to tackle some land-use issues that have confounded past county boards or caused them grief. It defines agritourism and sets down rules pertaining to it, further codifies allowing the building of wineries and allows zoning for them, and places limits on off-premises electronic billboards – the county has twice extended a moratorium on such signs until the ordinance's approval.

The county's current development regulations in many cases have not been seriously reviewed for some time. Minor amendments aside, the county zoning ordinance was last overhauled 14 years ago, and the subdivision ordinance dates back to 1991, not counting the 1998 addition of a conservation design section.

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