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Lakemoor, county officials clash on plans for public boat ramp

Lakemoor, county officials clash on land ownership

Published: Friday, March 7, 2014 11:28 p.m. CDT

LAKEMOOR – Despite a dispute over who owns the land and opposition from nearby residents, the village of Lakemoor is moving ahead with plans to install a public boat ramp.

The project was conceived as a way to give Lakemoor residents free access to the Chain O’Lakes while justifying improvements to Old Bay Road, Village President Todd Weihofen said.

While Old Bay Road falls under the jurisdiction of Lakemoor, the houses – and the residents who live there – are in neighboring Johnsburg.

The land that falls between Old Bay Road and Pistakee Bay, though, belongs to McHenry County, Assistant State Attorney Christina Webb said.

Weihofen disagrees, pointing to letters from the county that say the property isn’t theirs.

“It’s unfortunate,” he said. “The land is ours. Everyone denied ownership of it until we had a public project on it.”

County Administrator Peter Austin said the county wants to continue a dialogue with Lakemoor, but said the law clearly states that the property belongs to the county.

“There’s no question on the law,” Austin said.

County and village officials have a meeting Monday, Weihofen said.

Many of the residents who live along Old Bay Road aren’t happy with the project either.

At least eight Old Bay Road residents sent letters to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers voicing their opposition to the project, and another 11 are listed as commenters on the project, according to the permitting documents.

The village of Lakemoor offered to nix the project if the village of Johnsburg covered its soft costs, including the engineering and the cost to purchase the rights to install a boat ramp.

After the Johnsburg Village Board voted down the offer, the Lakemoor Village Board rescinded the offer and voted to move ahead with the project.

Lakemoor has received all the permits it needs to start constructions.

“We’re definitely disappointed and no concerns have been addressed to us,” said Jason Schwan, who lives on Old Bay Road. “They know it’s a bad decision, but they’re going to move ahead with it because they put money it in.”

• Reporter Kevin Craver contributed to this report.

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