Published June 7, 2007
Hinsdale Club, ZBA structure absorb most
of trustees' time at village board meeting
President Mike Woerner seemed to have anticipated what
he would face Tuesday.
after the regular board meeting started, Woerner stood
up from the board table and walked over to the podium,
noting it was unusual to speak from the stand.
reiterated his goals as village president and attempted
to explain his desire to work as a team and move the
will be a board of trust that is not and will not be
afraid to think outside the box,” Woerner said.
he wants to “move forward not backward ... learn from
mistakes ... hold ourselves accountable ... and put an
end to frivolous lawsuits.”
packed room was silent until it was audience members’
turn to talk. Then they spent the next 160 minutes
questioning, discussing and offering opinions and
members were upset about a lawsuit village officials
filed May 29 with the 18th Judicial Circuit Court asking
for a ruling on whether the zoning board of appeals has
the authority to hear an appeal of The Hinsdale Club
decision. (See related story on Page 7).
proposed change to the zoning board’s structure also
deeply concerned some — but also had the passionate
support of others.
Etten of Hawthorne Lane said he couldn’t understand how
the village could sue residents for protesting a
at best it’s a strong-arm tactic,” Etten said. “There
are all sorts of other tactics the village could have
taken.” For instance the village could have waited to
see if the ZBA even agreed to hear the case, he said.
pushed to find out who authorized the lawsuit — and as
officials hesitated and conferred in whispers — the
crowd joined in loudly, asking just who authorized the
Woerner said. “The village manager could have responded
to you with a letter to say this is not something to go
to the ZBA,” he said.
said he consulted with the village attorney and village
manager and decided filing a motion for declaratory
judgment was the best way to get a clarification and to
let residents know the appeal isn’t within the zoning
Hawthorne Lane resident, Ralph Mueller, said he couldn’t
understand why village officials don’t want the ZBA to
hear the case.
Hinsdale Club is one of the most significant
developments for the village. It will change the village
forever,” Mueller said.
have watched the process closely perceive the actions of
village officials to be rushed. Mueller said he and
others simply want a chance to read the agreement and
digest it; they want village officials to take their
concerns to heart.
village’s agreement with The Hinsdale Club will be
posted on the village’s Web site at
www.villageofhinsdale.org. Residents can send comments
to officials before Tuesday, June 19.
sore point with the residents were comments that
appeared in the May 31 issue of The Hinsdalean.
Woerner’s choice of words left residents feeling
bullied, they said.
“I wish I
could rewind the tape,” Woerner said as he apologized.
“The intention on my part was not to scare people, to
frighten people at the front door, but I was getting to
the point of overload. I feel very strongly ... this PUD
has no place on the ZBA agenda.”
residents named on the village’s lawsuit can ask to
withdraw their names from the appeal petition. If they
do so, attorney Ken Florey said the village will remove
them from the suit.
Tuesday’s meeting Woerner also suggested that the zoning
board be restructured as an advisory commission and
report to the village board.
communities structure their ZBAs in this manner, he
said. Currently the ZBA is an independent body of the
resident Karl Weber called Woerner’s idea “the dumbest
legislation to come before this board — and not only
that, but it’s downright dangerous.”
such as residents Dale Kleber and Jim Johannesen,
supported the idea.
it’s dangerous sticking our heads in the sand and not
look at ways to improve,” said Johannesen, who has spent
several months seeking approval from the ZBA for a home
he wants to build and has a lawsuit pending against the
village. “We need to find a better way.”
said even though he had a positive outcome with a ZBA
request, he thinks the zoning board should be
is not the Supreme Court and it is being conducted as if
it is,” Kleber said. “It is too lengthy, too
end Woerner’s recommendation for the text amendment to
make the change failed when no one seconded the motion.
Without a second, discussion could not even take place.