News - McHenry County

McHenry City Council finalizes annexation of surrounded parcels

Properties needing rezoning will see fees waived

Entry sign for McHenry, Illinois

The city of McHenry has annexed some 17 unincorporated parcels, close to 150 acres of land that were surrounded by it.

The McHenry City Council earlier this month voted unanimously to approve annexing that land, a project it has been working on since early 2021.

“This was a result of the growing concern that the longer the city waited to incorporate this property, the greater chance for the unincorporated territory to become more nonconforming,” according to an analysis city planner Cody Sheriff presented before the vote.

State law allows municipalities to involuntarily annex up to 60 acres, per parcel, that is wholly bounded by the town, Director of Community Development Ross Polerecky said.

Following the vote, properties are now zoned into either various residential densities or estate districts – land that is currently farmed acreage, Polerecky said.

Now, some of the property owners will have to go through planning and zoning to clean up their zoning and any nonconformities within those zones. Fees for that process, $950, were waived by the council.

The land currently being farmed will be able to remain so, Polerecky said.

All lawful-constructed one- and two-family properties were grandfathered in, according to council documents. Commercial property owners will need to be rezoned from the default residential to commercial or other appropriate zone.

Nonconforming uses, including chickens, horses and other livestock, have a year from annexation to come into compliance.

The council also approved a policy in 2021 which would allow those residents extensions to conform to city zoning laws, based on any economic or legal hardships.

Michael Bartolone told the council he felt “much better about the situation,” after the board’s Aug. 1 discussion. “A lot of these folks are very apprehensive about the whole thing,” noting he bought his property 36 years ago and others had been there just as long.

Mayor Wayne Jett said after the vote that the council wants to work with the new residents and ensure they feel represented in McHenry. “We don’t want to make this a difficult process. None of us do,” Jett said.

“Now you can complain to us about anything you want,” he added.