The county board passed the 2030 Plan on April 21, 2010. The Defenders had several representatives at the meeting, and were pleased that our latest suggestions were included in the plan:
- We ask that you amend the map by removing the CORI designation from the area along the Kishwaukee River west of Marengo. This change would honor the request you received from Marengo Township. More importantly, this land is designated as 100% sensitive aquifer recharge area (SARA) and is inappropriate for the CORI land use.
- The SARA map is an important tool which the county has developed to identify areas of important and sensitive aquifer recharge. The plan should add specific references to the SARA map in policies that refer to “sensitive aquifer recharge areas” .
- To be consistent and complete, we also ask that you place back on the map the MCNAI (McHenry County Natural Areas Inventory) site that was removed from the map by the RPC. It is the site located just north of Glacial Park as shown on the MCNAI map. The designation of Environmentally Sensitive Areas in both incorporated and unincorporated areas on the map is important as it allows for greater awareness of these areas for planning purposes.
- Because of the burden which the extension of infrastructure to scattered development sites places on the county, we believe it is important that the plan recognize that infrastructure needs go beyond roads and rails by clearly defining infrastructure needs to include its transportation network (including paths and trails), energy and utilities network, water supply, wastewater treatment systems and communications network.
- The plan’s desire to not promote additional development in scattered, isolated development areas which were the result of pre-1979 zoning decisions needs to be clearly reflected on the Future Land Use Map.
- We agree that the use of the phrase “premature conversion of farmland’ undermines the plan’s strong support for agricultural protection and recommend against its use.
The next step will be for the county board to develop ordinances that will enact the policies contained in the plan. The Defenders’ Water Resources Protection & Land Use Committees will be closely monitoring that process.
Our thanks go out to all of you who took part in meetings, made public comments and phone calls, etc. during the 3 ½ years of this process. Scroll down for a review of the Defenders participation in the process.
In the Northwest Herald:
County Board approves long-awaited 2030 Plan – April 21, 2010
By BRIAN SLUPSKI – email@example.com
WOODSTOCK – The McHenry County Board approved a land use plan this morning that will help shape the county’s future. The 2030 Plan was approved by a vote of 19-3 at 12:45 a.m. today after several hours of debate and numerous amendments. The vote brought an end to 3 1/2 years worth of work.
County Board member Tina Hill, who chaired the board’s Planning Development Committee, expressed concern about the number of changes they had planned Tuesday night and this morning. “We made a lot of changes tonight,” she said. “We’re not quite sure what we’re voting on. I want to table the final vote. I think in a few places we really screwed up.” Hill’s motion to table the votes was defeated on a voice vote, and ultimately she voted for the plan.
The 2030 Plan will be a guide for future development in McHenry County. The plan has been a controversial issue with critics contending that it does not go far enough protecting agricultural land and groundwater. But supporters say the plan represents a sensible compromise – it promotes compact growth that would largely be contiguous with municipalities.
Hill came up with 24 amendments to the plan meant to address many of the concerns that had been raised. However, several motions by County Board member Ersel Schuster forced the board to reconsider some of Hill’s amendments. Schuster sought to strengthen language in the amendments in a way that Hill said could drastically alter the plan. By the end of the end of the night, all of Hill’s amendments had been adopted, some with changes.
The land use plan has proved to be a difficult issue for the County Board. The previous county planning commission spent 7 1/2 years developing the 2020 plan. That plan was reworked by the County Board and ultimately failed to gain approval. The 2030 plan was under discussion for 3 1/2 years.
The County Board heard from meeting attendees for about an hour. Cindy Skrukrud spoke on behalf of the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County. “We continue to support the key concepts of the plan, which promotes a compact view of growth coming from areas that are contiguous with McHenry County,” Skrukrud said. The Defenders did recommend some tweaks, such as better identifying aquifer-recharged areas to protect groundwater. That was among the amendments brought to the County Board.
Among those who were critical of the plan was Bull Valley Village President Brian Miller. “Bull Valley is very concerned about the 2030 Plan the county is proposing because it would lead to high-density development,” Miller said.
Copyright © 2010 Northwest Herald. All rights reserved.
Talking Points, March 2010:
Please attend one of these meetings and make your voice heard. If you are unable to attend a meeting, please put these comments into your own words and email them or send them to the addresses shown below.
1. We want to thank P & D members for reducing the population projection in the Plan from 540,000 people in 2030 down to a more reasonable 495,000 people. While this revised total still exceeds the official regional forecast, it is a very positive change as it allows us to plan for retention of more agricultural land and open space as well as to protect more groundwater recharge areas and hydric soils in our county.
2. The Future Land Use Map that is now part of the plan is not acceptable because it is inconsistent with the revised population and it fragments agricultural land use and consumes too much prime agricultural land. In recognition of this inconsistency, the P & D Committee requested that staff develop a revised Future Land Use Map Analysis consistent with the revised population and following the resource and agricultural protection and compact/contiguous development policies that were adopted by the 2030 Plan Commission. These suggested changes were documented in a February 10, 2010, Memorandum from staff to the Committee. Accordingly, we strongly recommend that the P & D Committee amend the map by removing the areas listed below from Residential/Estate classifications and designating them as Agricultural. These changes will preserve areas of contiguous agricultural use and protect some of our best ag soils and groundwater recharge areas while supporting the idea of compact contiguous development around our municipalities. These changes are consistent with the analysis conducted by the Planning and Development Department that can be accessed at http://www.co.mchenry.il.us/departments/countyboard/MtgDocs/201002/0218pd/0218pd5_4.pdf.
To make the map consistent with the population projection, these areas should be designated as Agricultural, not Residential or Estate.
1. Western Coral Township
2. Southeast of Hebron
3. West of Hebron
4. Tryon Grove – Barnard Mill Triangle
5. Southeast of Hebron
6. Southwest of Hebron
7. Rte. 23 Marengo Township
8. West of Plum Tree Area
9. South of Plum Tree Area
10. Northwest of Huntley
11. Southwest of Woodstock (Seneca Twp)
12. East of Marengo (East portion)
13. East of Marengo (West portion)
3. We also ask that the map be amended to minimize the areas designated for Commercial/Industrial development that are located in sensitive aquifer recharge areas (SARA). Specifically the areas north of Woodstock and west of Marengo should be decreased in size by eliminating areas contained on the SARA map.
4. To be consistent and complete, we ask P & D to place the one MCNAI (McHenry County Natural Areas Inventory) site that was removed from the map by the Planning Commission, back on the map.
5. We strongly support the resource protection policy statements of the Open Space, Water Resources, and Agriculture Chapters and further ask that strong action words such as “require” be retained in the policy statements to protect our open space, water resources, and ag lands rather than being replaced with words such as “encourage”.
The Planning and Development Committee of the County Board met on November 23, 2009 to go over the Water Resources Chapter of the 2030 Comprehensive Plan Draft.
Several Defenders members attended to show their support for protecting our finite and vulnerable water resources.
Below are some primary talking points used:
– Keep the policies and protections in the plan that help prevent flooded basements, constantly running sump-pumps, destruction of landscaping, water run off, and the tanking property values that go with these things.
– Redirect development out of water recharge areas.
– Direct development to areas where municipal water facilities already exist.
– Keep the policies and protections that protect our high quality water bodies – these provide habitat and water for wildlife.
– Include policies ensuring that evaluating a proposed development’s water use and water capacity are a primary part of the planning process.
– New development needs to be sustainable and not compromise the water availability of current uses.
McHenry County’s only source of potable water are our local aquifers. The county does not and will not have access to Lake Michigan water, and we have no rivers or other water bodies locally that are big enough to draw from. The aquifers are it, and they are at risk.
Please attend tonight’s meeting and tell the County Board it’s time to make sure McHenry County will have water for its people and wildlife now, and for future generations.
This meeting was particularly important because the remaining policies protecting water are at risk of being removed entirely or weakened to the point of being completely ineffective.
The Defenders sent the following letter on November 11, 2009:
To Members of the Planning and Development Committee of the County Board:
Once again, the Defenders would like to applaud the Regional Planning Commission and staff for their hard work and dedication in creating the draft 2030 Comprehensive Plan. We acknowledge that parts of the plan do include important environmental and water protections that deserve our continued support. However, as it stands, this plan continues current patterns of growth and development that will create difficult problems as we run up against physical limitations of water, food, land and economic resources.
We’re all aware of the problems our county will face, but in short:
In 2005 McHenry County consumed 51 million gallons of water per day (MGD). The current estimated maximum sustainable extraction for the entire county is 120 MGD. If the municipalities reach full build out the county will see water usage overdraw all aquifer capacity by 40 MGD, not accounting for any impacts of possible drought. This also does not take into consideration water availability issues in different areas of the county. Left unchecked, aquifer depletion threatens the very existence of McHenry County as a viable community.
In a world of increasing transportation and energy costs and instability of food systems, this plan drastically increases our county’s dependence on food imports by consuming 28,000 acres of agricultural land for development. According to the US Government, it takes (at least) 1.2 acres of land per capita to sustain the current American diet. At 226,206 acres remaining today in agricultural zoning, we don’t have the land to support our current local population. By 2050, food prices are expected to rise by 3 to 5 times current cost, while McHenry County prematurely trades away its valuable food-producing capacity.
The challenges we face with water and arable land are exacerbated by the potential future impacts of climate change on McHenry County. Current estimates for our area include more than 70 days with temperatures above 90 degrees and 30 days with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees by 2050. Predicted changes in weather patterns show precipitation in the form of heavy rainfall causing floods and soil erosion instead of providing relief from dry spells. When rain comes in periodic downpours, it manifests as storm water run off and flooding which also prevents efficient and effective recharge of our aquifers. This instability in weather and temperature patterns needs to be taken into full consideration in order to minimize environmental, agricultural, and economic risks to our communities.
Finally, this plan is a blueprint for sprawl as evidenced by the large sections of residential, estate, and office/research/industrial placed in the unincorporated areas of the county. For discussion, the Vermont Forum on Sprawl concisely defines sprawl as “dispersed development outside of compact urban and village centers along highways and in rural countryside.” Or we could use the “manifestations of sprawl” from our own plan’s definition: “leapfrog development, strip commercial development, or large expanses of predominantly low-density, single-use development.”
The National Wildlife Federation lists sprawl as one of the major threats to wetlands and it isn’t hard to see why. Sprawl fragments important habitat, burdens ecosystems, brings people into conflict with wildlife and adversely effects water quality by increasing polluted run off and flooding while decreasing open space for infiltration. So, while the plan includes important environmental and water protections, it does not adequately protect from the environmental impacts of sprawl.
In addition to preserving the existing vital environmental protections without compromise, we ask that you examine the proposed land map. The land uses, including the large areas of estate residential, should be reexamined carefully to ensure that they are truly sustainable and consistent with the plan’s broader goals including quality of life, rural character and a healthy environment.
With all this in mind, the Defenders are not advocating for a policy of closing the door on all new development, only that the county’s plan reflect the overwhelming public desire to protect water, open spaces and agricultural land and set prudent and sustainable goals for development based on the physical resource limitations of the county. If we acknowledge and face these challenges directly, our children will not have to shoulder the burdens of our inaction.
Thank you for considering this information. We appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this continuing public process.
Defenders’ Board member, Kim Willis, gave the following comments to the County Board in early November, 2009, on our behalf:
“Good Morning. My name is Kim Willis and this morning I am speaking to you on behalf of the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County, located at 124 Cass Street in Woodstock
“You’ve just heard a brief overview of the 2030 Comprehensive Plan document, and I’d like to thank Mr. Eldridge, Mr. Dreher, and Mr. Sandquist for providing you with that overview.
“The Defenders have followed the Regional Planning Commission and staff through the hundreds of hours they have dedicated to creating this document for you. We applaud their efforts and commitment to this important process.
“The plan, in its current form, represents an honest attempt at balance. However, it starts from an assumption of preserving the status quo of recent growth, then tries to balance everything else we value within that framework. This will defer difficult problems to our children, as the status quo runs up against our county’s physical limitations of water, food dependence, infrastructure and the inevitable end to easy development. Instead, we have the opportunity to start with a focus on these actual physical realities and work to balance the interests of development within this more prudent framework.
“As such, the Defenders will continue to advocate for greater consideration of water resources, agriculture and open space in this document. Our most significant request at this stage is that the existing basic provisions made for environmental concerns be preserved, spared from deletion or dilution.
“Our members, along with many other members of the public who commented on the draft plan, overwhelming called for the plan to reflect their desires to protect the water resources, open spaces and agricultural land in McHenry County.
“We ask the members of the Planning and Development Committee, as well as the Board as a whole to maintain the current protections provided to our community’s water, food, and natural areas, act upon the general public’s request for protection to land and water, and ensure the final plan provides a more equitable vision for the future of McHenry County.
The Northwest Herald published an article on November 5th: Read it here.
Members of the Defender’s Land Use and Water Resources committees reviewed the draft 2030 Land Use Map and accompanying draft chapter released by the County’s Regional Planning Commission. The following are the collected comments and questions from their review. We encourage all Defender’s members to review the map and accompanying chapter on the County’s 2030 Plan website.
The regional planning commission has posted the comments they received on the 2030 plan. Click here.
If Defenders members have any new questions or comments they would like to share with the committees or want become more involved with the 2030 plan, please email the Defenders. To see the maps and chapter, go to http://www.mchenrycounty2030plan.com
- The group appreciated the commission’s utilization of a generally compact, contiguous growth scenario as a basis for the County Land Use Map.
- The group was pleased to see a reduction in land devoted to Estate Residential Use when compared to the 2010 plan map. We encourage the commission to maintain or reduce the Estate Residential areas where possible.
- The designation of Environmentally Sensitive Areas in both incorporated and unincorporated areas on the map allows for greater awareness of these areas for planning purposes. The group encourages the commission to keep these areas shown on the map.
- While the group was pleased to see the Environmentally Sensitive areas designated, we question why some of the McHenry County Natural Area Inventory (MCNAI) sites were not shown as Environmentally Sensitive on the map(see especially SE corner of Hebron and west side of Richmond)We encourage commission to clearly designate all of these areas.
- Also in regards to sensitive areas; when placing the Transportation Oriented Development (TOD) locations in Marengo and Huntley did the commission take into consideration and avoid impacts to the globally rare HUM Prairie?
- The removal of the Ag/Rural Residential Land Use distinction is appreciated as that land use was not in sync with this plan’s focus on compact, contiguous growth.
- There were questions as to whether the Retail Land Use scattered throughout the county was logical. Does this retail make sense in these areas? What was the reasoning supporting those locations? Do these locations enable non-vehicle travel or necessitate the use of a personal vehicle? We encourage the commission to review these areas for appropriateness under a compact, contiguous growth scenario.
- Regarding commercial growth, what is rationale for increasing land for Office/Industrial as compared to 2010 plan? Was the Sensitive Aquifer Recharge Map used to avoid placing Industrial Land Use in sensitive areas? The SARA map should be utilized for all such development, and we encourage the commission to re-examine the Industrial designations to ensure the minimization of Industrial Land use in these areas.
- We recommend that any existing non-contiguous Estate parcels/areas be designated with a different color and as an existing use not to be encouraged. This eliminates confusion and prevents the parcels being misinterpreted as planned for residential by the commission while still acknowledging the current zoning. The need for this distinction may be best illustrated by the three isolated estate areas near Harvard and Marengo on page 10 where residential growth should not be encouraged. We encourage the commission to incorporate this distinction into the map and chapter.
- The group questioned whether all the Residential Land Use, particularly shown north and southeast of Marengo, was truly necessary to accommodate the population growth. We ask that the commission re-examine whether more of the growth can be directed as infill in already incorporated areas.
- A primary concern of the group was the 540,000 population projection for 2030. How was the projected population increase determined? What methods were used? The county is facing serious water deficits and loss of agricultural land. Inflated population projections may increase unnecessary development in the county, increasing risks of water shortages and destruction of agricultural land. The population projection needs to be based on sound information using widely accepted sources and methodology. We request the commission re-examine their projections, and clearly state the methodology used in the Land Use Chapter.
For more information visit the 2030 plan website www.mchenrycounty2030plan.com or call the McHenry County Department of Planning and Development at (815) 334-4560 ext. 1.
View the draft map.
McHenry County 2030 Comprehensive Plan
Talking Points for Environmental Defenders of McHenry County Members
Thank you for your willingness to voice your vision for McHenry County’s future.
Your input at the public meetings will determine the priorities of the 2030 land use plan.
Tell planning commissioners and county staff what you value and how the plan must be structured to achieve your vision for the county.
A team of your fellow Defenders members has attended numerous meetings of the Regional Plan Commission and reviewed the draft plan in order to recommend the following key issues to support in the plan and places where improvements need to be made and plan inconsistencies resolved.
Aspects of Draft Plan to Praise and Support
- Compact, contiguous development is common theme Defenders support which has been voiced by all the commission members, as the overriding principle of the plan. It has also been supported by the McHenry County Council of Governments.
- The Commission and the Planning and Development Committee should be commended for including a number of visionary proposals and statements in the plan. Good government does not limit itself to existing policies and ideas, nor to accepting the inevitability of just proceeding the ways things have been done in the past. We all want McHenry County to prosper with the inevitable and frequently predictable changes that are coming in the future.
- The vision for a future with increasing, rather than declining, clean water resources by treating water as a resource, not a waste product, is a critical goal for our ability to sustain our drinking water supply for future generations of McHenry County residents.
- The plan’s commitment to preserve open space, agricultural lands and natural resources as essential economic assets of the county is vital to the future health of our county.
- The plan’s comprehensive, detailed, action-oriented policies are the essential elements which will bring our vision for McHenry County to fruition. They provide clear, unambiguous direction. They should be retained, not watered-down to mere platitudes.
Section 2-Community Character & Housing
- The plan challenges the previous pattern of development which allowed an inefficient use of land, ignoring the energy, social and environmental costs, including the loss of land necessary for food production and recharge of groundwater for our drinking water needs. Defenders supports this new approach.
- The Community Character and Housing section lists discouraging leapfrog development as an objective. This is good, but it should be more explicitly stated in the Agricultural Resources and Economic Development sections. As the argument on page 23 demonstrates, this kind of development in our recent past has consumed a disproportionate amount of our finite land resources, and so represents a threat to our natural environment and valued rural areas. Many of the plan goals will be unattainable unless leapfrog development stops.
Section 3- Agricultural Resources
- The plan emphasizes agricultural protection, essential to our future food supply and as open spaces where recharge of groundwater critical for our future drinking water supply can occur.
- Carbon Sequestration is mentioned in the text of the Agricultural Resources section on page 35, but not as a Policy Statement. This should be added. It is very likely that successful carbon sequestration projects will be funded in the near future by the futures markets. Promoting Conservation Design, maintaining native vegetation and old growth tree groves will allow McHenry County residents to profit from these markets. The Plan should position the county to be able to grab these opportunities.
Section 4- Greenways, Open Space & Natural Resources
- The Planning Commission should be commended for including Policy Statements that link the county with many regional trails: Greenways, Open Space, and Natural Resources section Policy Statements 30, 33, 34, & 35.
- The Natural Resources section does a good job of promoting sustainable practices that will help protect the incredible biodiversity of plant and animal life that we are so lucky to have in McHenry County. Policy Statements 14, 15, 16, 22, and 24 are important to retain.
Section 5- Water Resources
- Groundwater supply is one of the most critical issues for the future of the county. It’s our only source of water so all efforts should be made to conserve it and maintain its quality. It is a problem that requires a many-faceted solution, so it is important to embrace the whole suite of policies that have been proposed in this section.
- The Planning Commission should be commended for including Policy Statements that link the county with many regional trails: Water Resources Policy Statements 64 and 65.
- The quality streams, lakes and wetlands of McHenry County are ecological and cultural resources which the policies of this section are aimed at sustaining.
- A comprehensive groundwater protection ordinance which protects groundwater recharge areas is one of the most critical policies recommended in the plan: Water Resources Policy Statement 1 as is the recommendation for a county-wide water conservation strategy: Water Resources Policy Statement 17.
- Maximizing stormwater infiltration is an important practice. It recharges aquifers and protects against flooding. This “keep water local” principle can be implemented through conservation design and updated stormwater ordinances as recommended in Water Resources Policy Statements 59-62.
Section 6- Economic Development
- The Economic Development Section rightly promotes tourism as an objective (page 87), and in the text (page 95-96), but does not list it as a policy objective. This should be added since it would dovetail with policy objectives in the Agricultural Resources, Greenways, Open Space, and Natural Resources, and Water Resources chapters. A policy to foster tourism should include agricultural and ecotourism. Tourism would provide the county an opportunity to increase our financial wellbeing while maintaining our agricultural and natural resources.
Recommendations for Plan Improvements
- All the policies in the plan need to support the important vision outlined in the plan.
- A common vision needs to permeate the plan. Currently, economic development policies tend to negate some of the most critical policies of the water, open space and agricultural sections.
Section 4- Greenways, Open Space & Natural Resources
- Many O’Hare Airport pilots like McHenry County as a residence since they see so many trees on their landing approaches. The glacial topography and remnant old growth trees in the county are a great amenity. This will attract a well financed group of residents that will make a strong commitment to maintaining and improving the county. The plan does a good job of spelling out protections for many of our natural features, but this needs to be strengthened when all the maps and goals are coalesced into an integrated plan. We should plan for value-added residents who will tip the tax base in the right direction.
Section 5- Water Resources
- The Water Resources section does a good job of identifying ground water recharge areas of the county as assets essential to preserve. The County’s own studies predict water supply problems in the near future, so these areas should receive the maximum protection possible. To maintain our development options in the future, the Economic Development Map on page 97 needs more specifics added to reflect the plan’s commitment to protect these valuable resources from development. This is in keeping with the balance advocated in paragraph four of the plan’s introductory vision statement, between assets that we can exploit for development, and assets we must preserve for that development to be viable. The Rohm and Hass mess is a good warning for the county to take care of its groundwater resources. Ultimately future development may be severely limited if our water resources are not protected.
- The fact that many of the agricultural protection areas can double as groundwater recharge areas shows that it is possible, in some instances, to have economic assets that we can, within certain limits, both exploit and sustain.
- Natural flows in streams and wetlands must be preserved to protect the ecological integrity of aquatic habitats throughout the county. Policy Statement 37 should be strengthened to read “Preserve and restore” natural base flows.
Section 6- Economic Development
- The Economic Development map on page 97 doesn’t fit the plan’s overall goal for compact, contiguous development. Its presence nullifies the plan’s key principles, such as agricultural protection, groundwater recharge area protection, and the preservation of environmentally sensitive areas.
- The Economic Development map on page 97 shows many “Retail/Service Destinations” in rural areas of the county. These appear to be poor policy since they would siphon business away from existing businesses in the surrounding communities. There are only a limited number of businesses that an individual will patronize, and just adding more will weaken the existing group. As an example, it is quite appalling how many vacant businesses exist on Rt. 14 in Crystal Lake. Letting businesses decide where they wish to offer their wares can result in a blight of vacant storefronts in the county. Rt. 14 is a major gateway to the county. How does it look to have many vacant buildings to prospective residents or investors? The plan needs a more realistic amount of business zones that still allows for competition, but does not foster vacant storefronts.
- There is a huge amount of land designated as gravel pits on the Economic Development map on page 97. This does not seem reasonable, considering all the future needs of the County. Crystal Lake is currently experiencing a large budget crisis from the need to re-develop the Vulcan Lakes gravel mine. Care should be taken so that the County is not left strapped with the high costs of rehabbing these sites.
- The Economic Development map on page 97 ignores the underlying natural resources of McHenry County. Throughout the county, it proposes intensive commercial and industrial (gravel mining) without regard to existing natural features. To achieve the plan’s stated vision to make land use decisions that preserve environmentally sensitive areas, potential Industrial Business Zones, Commercial Nodes & Corridors, & Aggregate Resources need to be limited where Illinois and McHenry County Natural Area Inventory sites exist and endangered and threatened species, quality streams, wetlands and woods are found. For example, the map shows Industrial and Commercial and gravel pits listed as land uses for the area between Richmond and Hebron. This is an environmentally sensitive area with existing bike trails and potential water trails connecting into Wisconsin and the busy Lake Geneva tourist destination. This “Gateway to McHenry County” area has a huge potential for increasing tourism and the resulting tourist dollars in the County. Proposed land uses for this area should build on its existing natural qualities to further its tourist potential.
Section 7- Infrastructure
- A large portion of McHenry County residents work outside of the county, and thus, have a long commute to work. This becomes a significant time drain and reduces the quality of life for our residents. To complement the emphasis on compact, contiguous development, we need to make sure the plan offers as many options as possible on alternative transit (bike paths, trains, buses, walking paths/sidewalks, waterway trails, etc.) to both expand the options for travel to work within the County, and to make McHenry County more livable both for those who work in the County, and for those who travel for work outside of the County.