Woods & Wetlands
Despite these changes, no public hearings have been planned.
The UDO will set zoning and shape future development in unincorporated areas. Most of the land affected is in the north and west of the county, where development is already threatening to overwhelm available services and gobble up open space. Environmental advocates on the County Board were often shut out of the drafting of the original document, and their suggestions and concerns have been disregarded in this new version as well. Equally troublesome are the items still missing from the UDO: watershed protections and the update of the framework plan. Watershed protections and storm water management regulations have been omitted from the UDO, with the promise that they will be included in a watershed development ordinance to be completed at some later date. And the update of the framework plan, which should have been the first step in the process, has not even begun. The pro-growth faction of the Board is no doubt hoping to circumvent public discussion and disapproval by proceeding piecemeal with these interrelated documents.
And proceeding they are, with haste. Despite objections by the Board's environmental friends, Chairman Robert Grever is hoping to pass the UDO before the make up of the Board changes in January. The new, greener board is expected to be about 50% environmentalists, but the green team will not have the two-thirds majority needed to amend the flaws in the UDO.
Your help is urgently needed to improve the UDO before it is passed. The public must be given the opportunity to comment on this important document. Call your County Board representative and demand that hearings be held throughout the county. Then, watch the newspapers and attend these meetings. Also, you should ask that environmental protections be strengthened and that the "takings relief" clause be removed.
For more information and action ideas, call Mary Van Vactor at 847-949-1355.
Evan Craig has served on the Executive Committee for 1 term, and as Chair for 1 year. He believes that the Group's ability to protect the Lake County environment depends upon involving members in their local issues. Evan has launched and maintains the Group website, hot-line, e-mail alert network, and has produced Program Meeting tapes for cable TV to accomplish this goal. Meanwhile, Evan frequently represents the environment at meetings with public officials.
John Massman was co-founder of W&W's swamp squad in northern Lake County and has been active in W&W for the last five years. for the last four years John has been an effective Conservation Chair. John is very interested in the development and transportation issues that pose the greatest threat to the environment and character of Lake County and northern Cook County
Barry Juras believes that the rapid and permanent loss of natural resources to new development, the extension of Route 53 into Lake County, and the corresponding environmental disaster must be stopped. "It falls upon organizations like ours to become focal points towards this end. That's where I stand. That's what I will work toward."
Dave Szaflarski has lived in Lake County for over three decades and enjoys our open spaces. He's active in local conservation and restoration activities with Lake Bluff Open Lands Assoc., and also as a volunteer steward with the LCFPD. He wants to help make W & W a fun and active organization.
HOW TO VOTE:
You may vote for up to three candidates by marking the box next to their names. Cut out your completed ballot and send it to our mailbox, PO Box 5012, Vernon Hills, IL 60061 by December 1st, 1998. Do not put your name on the ballot. Families with multiple members may place multiple checks on one ballot. Please note all members names on your envelope.
__ Evan Craig __ Barry
Juras __ John Massman
__ Dave Szaflarski
Victory of all eight of our endorsed County Board candidates this Spring
demonstrated voters' growing concern for our disappearing open space, and
disapproval of the suburban sprawl that has resulted from a decade of pro-growth
politics. Since then, your Woods & Wetlands election committee has
been busy evaluating more candidates, and we are pleased to present another
slow growth Board candidate, Bob Sabonjian.
While most of Lake County's Board races are decided in the primaries, Bob and three of our other endorsed candidates face opponents in the final elections on November 3. Peggy Shorts, Loretta McCarley, and Al Westerman will be relying on your vote.
The spring vote counts showed stunning percentages in favor of our candidates, but the overall turnout was low. More voters are likely to turn out for the final elections, and we should not rely on our previous voters to reap the same results. If you care about the rare concentration of endangered species that call our county their home; if you are fed up with new traffic on old roads, bursting schools, and more floods; Now is the time to do something.
One of the most effective things you can do is let your neighbors know that you'll be voting for the future of the Lake County environment, by sending them a neighbor to neighbor postcard. Just tell them that you trust an endorsed candidate to represent you. You can get some with Sierra Club W&W logos from us, or just make some of your own. As long as it's personal, you will make a good impression for our candidate and for the Group, and you might make a new friend!
Our endorsement process included the same thorough process described in our March Newsletter. In addition, through the state Chapter endorsement process, we are proud to endorse Lauren Beth Gash, and newcomer Susan Garrett for Illinois Assembly. Their endorsement questionnaires included a broad range of topics, and these candidates responded well to questions about impact fees, toll roads, and protection for state ndangered species. John Porter, our environmental rudder for the Republican party, was endorsed for US Representative.
Loretta McCarley, Candidate for Lake Co. Board, District 2, is running for the now vacated seat of Robert Neal. A long time environmental activist, Loretta's effort in 1998 resulted in the Forest Preserve District's acquisition of the Waukegan Savanna Forest Preserve. More recently, she fought the proposed Yorkhouse Road extension through a forest preserve. She is now leading the battle to stop the Waukegan Airport from taking 80 acres of the Waukegan Savanna Forest Preserve for a new runway.
Peggy Shorts, Candidate for Lake Co. Board, District 9, our only Democratic endorsement for the Board this spring, seeks the seat currently held by Democrat Debra Halas. Halas' coziness with the county's pro-development Republicans has led us, and other environmental groups, to deny her our support. Ms. Shorts is endorsed by former State Representative John Matejevich, a staunch environmental ally. We expect Peggy to cultivate a strong bipartisan pro-conservation majority on the Board.
Robert G. Sabonjian, Candidate for Lake Co. Board, Democrat from District 8, seeks to represent a unique sector of Lake County which contains some examples of the worst problems we face in the area for environmental cleanup i.e. the Johns Manville plant and the lakefron brown fields. District 8 also offers one of our best of Lake County locations, Illinois Beach State Park, home to several rare and endangered plants. One of Bob's goals is to encourage cooperation among Board Members in protecting the natural resources of Lake County. Bob is adamantly against the exchanging of established wetlands for alternative sites to facilitate new development, be it private or government. Waukegan depends on the re-development of its underutilized economic potential if it is to survive in the future and thus make all of Lake County a better place to live.
Susan Garrett, Candidate for Illinois State Representative, 59th District has accomplished much for her community as a voice for government accountability and responsible development. Susan brings an outstanding record of success as community advocate, businesswoman, and leader to her candidacy. She will continue focusing on the quality of life issues that have been her platform for years: better education, well planned community development and government that's open and accessible.
Susan believes that residents have a right to be informed and included
in the development planning process in their communities. She urged
the City of Lake Forest to initiate a special census - now underway - to
define the impact of the city's growth and help determine the resulting
need for schools, roads, parks and services.
This Spring it was Hawthorn Woods' Barry Juras who wanted to save a wetland on Kruger Rd. Though small, and bordered by the housing development where Barry lives, it has been reclaiming farmland and attracting threatened egrets, and other native fauna. Juras has appealed for the fate of the wetland to his town board and his neighbors. Since joining forces with Sierra Club, he has contacted a half a dozen government agencies that have a role in determining whether that wetland will be saved. (See the guide he wrote based on his experience on the W&W website.) That wetland, like each of the thousand other little wetlands that dot Lake County, seem inconsequential, but are vital threads in the fabric of Lake County's outstandingly rich natural heritage. The marvelous Indian Creek Heron Rookery, which we visited on an outing a few weeks later, is only a few miles away. Those magnificent birds rely heavily on the surrounding network of wetlands like Barry's.
In July, an activist busy working to protect the Glenview Prairie at the retired air station (where 400 concerned citizens hiked their threatened prairie last month) put me in touch with Lex Provanzo, who lives near Volo. Lex was alarmed that the tiny town of Volo was about to annex their way to border Fox Lake. In a tiny meeting room, the Mayor, who's hog farm was originally a wetland, explained that he intends to anex hundreds of acres of land zoned Countryside by the County, and sacrifice it to an industrial park, and a big housing development. He will then stand by idly as Fox lake puts in another few thousand homes in an adjacent development. Questions revealed that Volo has made no plans to deal with the increased burden that will be placed on the roads, the schools, or the aquifer (which the Mayor said could provide an "unlimited" supply of water). Why is he doing it? Volo's septic systems are failing. They will not be permitted to sink new ones in their wet soils, and cannot afford their own treatment center. They intend to tap into the Fox Lake sewer system. By then, that will be the least of their concerns. The Mayor plans to retire on the proceeds of selling off his farm for even more development. Lex, who lives just outside of town, doesn't even get a vote on what Volo does.
Yesterday there was a message on the hotline from Bob Wargaski. He's a resident near Island Lake, alarmed about that town's plans to annex wetlands to build a 500 MW fossil fuel power plant. The facility will draw millions of gallons of water from the same aquifer Volo plans to deplete, decimate Black Crown Marsh (200 acres with threatened and endangered species), and will abut Moraine Hills State Park. Instead, we could invest in more efficient refrigerators and air conditioners, or deploy renewable energy sources, and say no to this destruction of our natural environment.
The first lesson in CPR/first aid (required for Sierra Club Outings
leaders) is: don't assume that someone else is doing anything to help.
The same lesson applies to rescuing our region. There is an environmental
disaster being planned in nearly every square mile of it, and if you don't
act because you think that someone else is probably doing anything to fix
it, the "victim" might die. With the accelerating pace of development,
most activists are overloaded, and don't have time to fight every open
space battle that hatches. The next time you see cornfields, think houses.
See wetlands, think strip malls. Then do what these residents are doing:
call "911" and resuscitate the "patient." (Contact W&W, and then organize
to save the heartland savanna.) Individual battles to preserve the quality
of our region are vital, and fighting them makes it painfully clear that
the economics and statutes that are driving suburban sprawl are seriously
flawed. New development does not pay it's way, undermines urban renewal,
and is regularly courted by municipalities engaged in a ridiculous growth
competition. The power of a municipality to annex unincorporated land gives
urbanization an unwarranted advantage over "ruralization." We need to ask
our elected officials to change the system, and work together, so that
built-in incentives redirect development to urban areas, and save our natural
heritage. We also need habitat protections for State Endangered Species.
Assuming the US Army corps of Engineers fails carry out their order to
end wetlands destruction, we need State restrictions on Nationwide (wetlands
destruction) Permits. These permits are regularly premised on ludicrous
and unproven wetlands "mitigation" boondoggles. Now is a good time to remind
your representatives (town, county, state, and federal) that these are
important issues that we need to have addressed. Contact them during this
election season, and ask them to explain what they intend to do.
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