Is it good stewardship for a town to forbid homeowners from building near ravines and bluffs … or is it an imposition on individual property rights? These are two of the questions that came up at a public hearing in Kenilworth on January 28.
The Village’s Building, Planning and Zoning Committee is considering a six-month moratorium on construction on land within 20 feet of a steep slope area adjacent to a lake bluff or ravine. The moratorium would allow the Village time to research and implement ordinances regulating those areas. The Committee did not decide whether or not to recommend a moratorium to the Village Board, but instead voted 2-1 to continue the pubic hearing to February 25.
The hearing was well attended by residents who voiced opinions both for and against the proposed moratorium. Some residents questioned the need for a moratorium and were concerned about its scope and time frame. Residents questioned whether the Village would continue to extend the moratorium past the proposed six months. Others were concerned about property rights and perceived the moratorium as curtailing what owners could do with their own property. Proponents of the moratorium stressed the inherent value of the lakefront and the interest of the Village in protecting this asset with regulations.
Committee members present at the meeting were Trustee James McClamroch, Trustee Ann Potter and Trustee Kevin Lennon. In their discussion, Trustee Lennon and Trustee McClamroch both expressed a concern that the moratorium be narrow in scope. “I am hesitant to do a moratorium that significantly affects homeowners rights,” Trustee Lennon said.
Trustee Potter was a proponent of the moratorium. “I feel we need to protect our lakeshore and building out to the slope is not in the best interest of our village.” Trustee Potter also expressed concern that lakefront properties currently for sale might be purchased and developed over the steep slope area, if a moratorium is not enacted.