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Illinois Yacht Club in Zoning Dispute

By Janelle Walker

The Pistakee Yacht Club in Illinois has been parking boats and trailers on a lot next to the club since 1970 with a variance from the county. The Village of Johnsburg says the variance is not valid and the two are countersuing in McHenry courts. 

A letter from the Johnsburg Village Board in Illinois was written in hopes of settling its dispute, Village President Ed Hettermann said.

“It has been our effort all along to come up with something both sides could agree on,” Hettermann said after a unanimous vote by the village this week to approve the letter, which followed a closed-door meeting. Based on an initial response from the yacht club’s vice president, however, the letter does not seem to bring the two sides closer together.

The yacht club and the Johnsburg Village Board have been at loggerheads since last summer, when an anonymous complaint was made to the village about the club’s backlot, used since at least 1970 for boat storage. The disputed property lies across a street from the yacht club’s clubhouse at 3300 N. Rocky Beach Road.

In the months since, the yacht club and the village have argued over a 1970 variance granted by McHenry County. The yacht club claims that variance allows it to store boats on the lot in an area otherwise zoned residential. The village has indicated it believes the variance was improperly approved. Each has sued the other in McHenry County courts.

The village letter, provided to the Northwest Herald via a Freedom of Information request, states that it is a response to correspondence from Laura King, the yacht club’s vice-commodore. King’s letter, forwarded to the village on Feb. 27, lays out a proposal for maintaining the storage lot and requests that the village reaffirms the club’s 1970 variance.

The village’s letter states Johnsburg is “unable to agree to the Yacht Club’s terms as proposed” and the “purported variance … is not possible as the purported variance is not valid.”

Though the nonprofit Yacht Club’s board had not yet met to discuss any counteroffer or response at the time of King’s comments, King said the letter does not appear to move the two any closer together. “We are disappointed the village is refusing to recognize the variance granted by McHenry County, affirmed by the village of Sunnyside in 1991 as part of the annexation agreements that created the formation of what we know as Johnsburg today,” King wrote in a text to the Northwest Herald.

“We don’t understand why the validity of our longstanding property usage rights are in question. We continue to be hopeful that we can continue to work together to reach a cooperative resolution,” King wrote.

Janelle Walker is a contributor to ShawLocal.com.

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