Also attending on Thursday were representatives from the Logan
County Farm Bureau, Lincoln Rural Fire Department, Logan County
Emergency Management Agency, 911 Board, Zoning Officer Will D'Andrea,
and Doug and Laurie Muck.
The evening's discussion focused on the proposed amendments to the
Conditional Use Ordinance. There were also updates from the Finance
Committee on a few budget items that need approval.
Board member Chuck Ruben said that come next Tuesday at the Regular
board session he would make a motion to place the resolution to
amend the Conditional Use Ordinance recommended by the Zoning Board
of Appeals to go on display for the next 30 days. He said the
committee will have time to review it further and more amendments
could be made after that time.
Dave Opperman of the Logan County Farm Bureau said the Farm Bureau
Board is in favor of the proposed amendments to the Conditional Use,
and the proposed Sunset Clause of three years with two one year
extensions. Opperman said there are projects that have been
approved, but then nothing moves along, so those areas are tied up.
Having more definition will be an advantage for the community when
planning new endeavors.
Doug Muck said since he has many business operations and
developments, and acquired draft legislations for other counties, he
wants to provide some additional provisions and language to the
Conditional Use Ordinance and Sunset Clause.
The Zoning Board of Appeal approved the language at a public hearing
on Thursday, January 7, but Muck feels that some of the language
needs to be clarified and softened.
Muck sent letters to the whole county board about the proposed
amendments listing some of his suggested changes. He objects to the
Sunset Clause and the hearings required for extensions and listed
several reasons related to how it would affect mining.
In the letter Muck said, "A mining operator, before investing in
plant set up, requires assurance that the available reserves may be
mined at the speed they can economically and practically proceed. .
. Thus, 'sunsetting' the M-3 zoning classification or conditional
use mining permits will deny those potential mining operators the
assurances they desire." He said the board "should provide a longer
sunset period for mining operation."
Muck said he wants to add: "Delays caused by litigation or other
matter not within complete control of the applicant for the
conditional use permit shall suspend, stay, and toll the running of
the time" to the Sunset Clause. Muck said they have been awaiting a
decision on a lawsuit on a previous rezoning ordinance from December
2012, and the judge still has not ruled on it. He said operators
should not be penalized for delays out of their control such as
weather disasters. There are also periods of non-mining and moving
Muck said on the section about abandonment, he wants to add: "For
M-3 zoning districts, the use shall not be deemed or considered
abandoned until the Illinois Department of Natural Resources
certifies completion of all land reclamation activities required by
State statute or regulation."
Muck said adding the words: "multiple, repeated, flagrant, unabated,
health and safety code violation" would soften the section on
Muck also wants to add a waiver clause that says, "The County Board
may waive application of the provisions" of the other sections "in
whole or in part, for good cause shown." He said certain conditions
should be considered for waivers.
Muck asked that the ordinance go back to the Planning and Zoning
Committee and State's Attorney Jonathan Wright before approval. He
said Labor Union 965 has also discouraged passing the ordinance as
it is written.
Board member Kevin Bateman said he has no problems amending it, but
had asked Muck to come up with something the board could work with.
The board agreed to weigh what Muck said in his letter and at the
Workshop. Bateman thanked Muck for providing more language for a
good working document.
Bateman said it is hard for the Logan County Board to know what
businesses are turned away when land is zoned and nothing is done.
Muck said businesses are looking at news stories and consider the
environment before making a decision to come to Logan County. He
said abatements are better than sunset clauses, which he feels are
for more densely populated areas.
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Zoning Officer Will D'Andrea said conditions, criteria and
environmental changes are reasons projects should not linger for
years. There is a need for the clause and reasons they apply to
Board member Gene Rohlfs said the Logan County Board is being
painted as looking for time to run out on projects, but says the
county wants new businesses. People can reapply for permits after
the five years is up.
Laurie Muck said zoning is for orderly development, and her
opposition is due to some of the conditions being set. She said
Conditional Use regulations are more appropriate for projects like
wind farms, and fears too many Conditional Use regulations will
drive away businesses. Muck also said LaSalle County has specific
regulations for what is not controlled by the Illinois Department of
Laurie Muck said operators may be driven away by the Sunset Clause.
Many have wanted the mining, but she feels that is not the message
being sent out. She said two mining companies have already been
driven away because of the ordinance.
Bateman read a letter from Invenergy, a company who has talked about
building a wind farm north of Atlanta, and said they may also be
driven away by a Sunset Clause. Invenergy said a Sunset Clause of
five years would work better since wind farms take longer to
develop, and small wording changes would help.
Board Chairman Dave Hepler said American Wind Energy and the Relight
Wind Farm project are already in their fifth year and asked if the
three year clause would drive away other wind farm projects.
Doug Muck said there is much work to be done when setting up wind
farms, so the clause could dissuade those projects. He said the wind
farms have been making some progress as they have been working with
permits, though some may perceive nothing is being done. Muck said
the board should ask wind farm companies how this clause would
affect projects. He said if the board feels a business is not
progressing, they should contact the business to ask questions about
Bateman said the clause actually allows five years since there are
two one year extensions allowed after the first three years.
Board member Gene Rohlfs said that after three years, the board
would look at what has been done and would extend permits if the
operators are making progress.
Ruben said he is opposed to changes in zoning, but both sides have
some valid points, so there is room for compromise. He wants to find
a happy medium and suggested the Sunset Clause allow five years plus
two one-year extensions. Ruben said the Planning and Zoning
Committee will likely make more changes when it comes off display.
Discussion on the proposed changes will continue at the Regular
Board meeting on Tuesday, January 19.
You may review the recommendations made by the ZBA to amend language
related to Conditional Use here -Logan
County Zoning Board recommendations for amendment to Zoning
Ordinance, Conditional Use - pdf
past related articles:
County prepares to update Conditional Use
sections in Zoning Ordinance
Sunsets with sunset clause on Logan County
Conditional Use revisions
Logan County Board passes zoning ordinance
Public hearing introduces Logan County
zoning language modernization
A copy of the proposed language changes to
the Zoning Ordinance - pdf