Petitioner states his credentials and
explains - may use maps, drawings, etc.. to show his intentions for
the property. The ZBA members question him. Then you may question him
but only on the testimony given up to this point.
Remember something very, very
important - if the zoning amendment passes, the petitioner is not
bound to honor any of the drawings or maps he presents, or any
verbal promises to work around wetlands, or not to take down trees!!!
He is only required to stay within the zoning classifications -
anything else is just window dressing!
Petitioner may present witnesses -
soil experts, land planning experts, real estate brokers, etc. Once
again, the ZBA members question witnesses, and you can question them
on their testimony.
The public can give a brief statement
of opposing views. Try to have neighbors that might directly suffer
consequences of this development ready to make a short statement -
concerns about flooding problems, dangerous traffic problems, well
& septic concerns, environmental concerns (wetlands), school
Also, at this time, someone may read the petition into evidence. They
give you about 3 minutes to talk and you must sign in at the
beginning of each hearing showing that you wish to speak.
You may feel, as we did, that you are
trying to play a game without first knowing the rules. You may want to
retain a lawyer. After the first ZBA hearing date was continued, we
went door-to-door once again asking for pledges for cash towards a
lawyer. We contacted the Defenders, who recommended a local lawyer
concerned about environmental and rezoning issues in McHenry County.
Afterwards, several of our group remarked that they thought we
probably would have lost without our lawyer.
Something else you should realize
from the onset is that the petitioner seems to have all the rights in
these proceedings. You cannot ask the ZBA for evening hearings - only
the petitioner can. The petitioner can ask for continuances for the
most flimsy reasons - and they will get them because "they are
paying for the hearings."
The petitioner can ask for a full ZBA
vote - even though only 4 or 5 members were present for the hearings.
The other ZBA members are then required to read the transcripts and
you get to wait another month.