Electronic billboards have been popping up all over McHenry County and officials from local municipalities are demanding something be done to stop what some call a "blight" on the community.
The McHenry County Board is expected to discuss an ordinance establishing a temporary moratorium on electronic billboards in unincorporated portions of the county at its meeting Tuesday, Sept. 18.
That discussion comes after several village boards requested the county stop accepting permits for new billboards until it OKs its Unified Development Ordinance. The ordinance will regulate all areas of development in rural McHenry County and includes tougher regulations on electronic billboards.
The UDO is not expected to be passed until early next year and in the meantime, many new billboards have been popping up in areas that border municipalities.
“In unincorporated areas near Lake in the Hills, Crystal Lake and Algonquin, there are a slew of new billboards going up before the new regulations,” said Russell Farnum, community development director for the village of Algonquin, during a recent meeting.
The Lake in the Hills Village Board is expected to vote Thursday to approve a resolution requesting a county moratorium on all new and pending permits for billboards until the UDO is adopted. Last week, the Algonquin Village Board OK’d a similar resolution.
Crystal Lake and Lakewood also have approved resolutions in recent weeks requesting a moratorium on electronic billboards.
Farnum referred to the resolution as “an advisory recommendation to the county to prevent this blight from affecting our community.”
Billboards Crop Up Along Algonquin Road
For those who regularly travel Algonquin Road near Pyott Road, you might have noticed the onslaught of electronic billboards.
There currently are eight electronic billboards on Algonquin Road between just south of Pyott Road to just north of Scott Drive in an area that borders the village of Lake in the Hills, according Lake in the Hills village documents.
The county recently issued a permit for an additional electronic billboard in that area. The 240-square-foot, 35-foot-tall billboard will be located just west of Dennis Avenue on the south side of Algonquin Road, LITH documents state.
Dan Olson, village of LITH community development director, said hopefully a moratorium will improve the appearance of that corridor along Algonquin Road.
In Lakewood, the village board will vote on Monday, Sept. 17 on whether to annex five acres along Route 47 at Route 176 to prevent an electronic billboard from being constructed, according to the Northwest Herald. The Crystal Lake City Council in a special August meeting voted to annex properties along Route 14 to prevent a 35-foot-tall billboard from being constructed, according to the Northwest Herald.
County Moves Forward With Unified Development Ordinance
Just this past week, the county posted on its website a draft of the Unified Development Ordinance. The county will review the draft with the hopes of voting on the ordinance by early 2013.
“The UDO will update and combine the county’s zoning, subdivision, sign, and miscellaneous development regulations into a single, comprehensive, and consistent set of regulations,” according to a McHenry County press release.
The County Board Planning and Development Committee has scheduled four meetings with the Zoning Board of Appeals in coming weeks that will be open to the public and meant for reviewing the draft of the UDO.
The meetings are set for 1 to 5 p.m. Sept. 19, 20, 26 and 27 in the county board meeting rooms of the McHenry County Administration Building, 667 Ware Road in Woodstock. Public comment will be allowed at the beginning of each of the meetings.