On Monday, Crystal Lake-Cary Patch ran a story asking readers to share locations of the area's worst roads or potholes.
One reader posted: "MCC's parking lot, and exit! I thought I had done major damage to my car leaving the St. Baldricks event on Friday! I feel awful for those students!"
It turns out McHenry County College officials are currently looking to repair parking lots B and D at the college, which were built in 1974.
An analysis of the 39-year-old parking lots, located on the south side of the college building at 8900 Route 14, shows the lots are in "substandard condition and need to be completely removed, the base rebuilt and replaced," according to city documents.
MCC President Vicki Smith appeared on Tuesday night before the Crystal Lake City Council to present the college's plans to replace the parking lots. The presentation carried a request to defer the required tiers of filtration necessary for an impervious surface in the Crystal Lake Watershed until a future phase of MCC's Master Plan is implemented.
"The parking lots need immediate attention to improve safety," Smith told council members. "The current configuration has pedestrians crossing traffic in many areas."
Designs for new parking lots would incorporate additional curbs and lanes to make student drop-off areas and pedestrian crossings safer, she said. College officials would like to rebuild the lots before the fall semester.
However, one glitch in the college's plan is the request for the deferral of the "tiered best management practices" outlined in the city's watershed ordinance. The area where the tiers need to be installed is where the college baseball fields are located.
Smith said the parking lot improvements would adhere to measures outlined in the stormwater ordinance. However, the tiers of filtration would not be added until sometime in the future - possibly three to six years away, according to the college's Master Plan.
Several residents asked Crystal Lake Council members not to grant the deferral after the many years of hard work that went into creating the city's Watershed Ordinance, intended to protect water sources feeding into Crystal Lake.
"What kind of precedent would this set?" one resident asked. "It seems inconsistent to me that the college says they're going to be holding classes to teach about the watershed, and yet they don't want to (follow the standards to protect it). You (the city leaders) are the pioneers, and I urge you to stand strong and protect it."
Former State Rep. Rosemary Kurtz spoke against permitting the deferral as well. Kurtz said proponents of the Watershed Ordinance "went through blood, sweat and tears" to create the protective standards.
"I ask you not to vote for this deferral," Kurtz said. "It will weaken (the watershed) and set a bad precedent."
City leaders agreed, and unanimously voted against the request.
"We have a duty not to grant deferrals," City Councilman Jeffrey Thorsen said. "We have an opportunity to put some of these best management practices into play....This is the first major project we've had and to grant a deferral would create a bad precedent."