Crystal Lake South Bleachers Case Returns to Court Wednesday

The case of the $1.18 million football bleachers built this past summer at Crystal Lake South returns to court on Wednesday, Jan. 22, for a status hearing.

The hearing at 11 a.m. may shed some light as to whether Community High School District 155 officials plan to appeal a McHenry County judge's ruling last month stating the school district should have followed the city of Crystal Lake's zoning application, review and approval/ disapproval process prior to building the stadium.

Judge Michael Chmiel issued a decision Dec. 18, and later distributed a 20-page pager detailing the ruling to all parties involved in the case.

"The issue here is regarding the ordinances the city has on its books, and whether the school district can ignore them, and I don't believe it can or should," Chmiel said as he read his decision.

After hearing the judge's decision, attorneys for the school district said they would take time to read detailed ruling and meet with District 155 leaders before deciding whether or not they would appeal.

The homeowners who filed the lawsuit against the school, seeking District 155 follow the city's zoning process, said Monday they have not heard any word on the matter. City officials also said Tuesday they've received no notice from District 155 regarding how it plans to proceed.

Jeff Puma, spokesman for District 155, said in an e-mail Tuesday the school district has been examining its options. However, he said he could not comment on potential legal actions the district may or may not take prior to Wednesday's status hearing.

Controversy over the bleachers began when homeowners living on Amberwood Drive said they were never given advance notification about the project, or an opportunity to share their concerns or input. Their backyards abut the new structure, which is now the site of the Gators' larger "Home" stands. Previously, the smaller, "Visitor" stands were next to residential properties.

The homeowners object to the size of the new stands, which are 51 feet tall and triple the width of the previous bleachers. The new stadium also was built 41 feet from the property line, which does not meet city code.

The bleachers seat up to 3,900 spectators between the new home and visitor stands. Attorneys for the homeowners said the school is 680 parking spaces short of accommodating that many spectators.

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S.H. January 21, 2014 at 07:22 PM
Let's hope the district doesn't drag this out anymore. Everything that has happened is totally their fault. Now it's time for them to fix it.


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