Village approves permit for sport court despite objections from neighbors

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Village approves permit for sport court despite objections from neighbors

October 06, 2021 - 22:02
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A Flossmoor resident received an OK from the village board to proceed with use of a basketball court despite being unable to come to terms during mediation with neighbors who had complaints.

The Flossmoor Village Board voted unanimously on Monday, Oct. 4, to approve a special use permit to allow for a sport court at 2705 Heather Road. The ordinance was recommended by a 4-0 vote from the Plan Commission.

“You’d like the neighbors to be able to work it out and not put it back onto government officials to have to do it,” Trustee Brian Driscoll said. “That wasn’t possible in this case.”

But Driscoll said he considered the Plan Commission’s recommendation and found restrictions on the use of the court to be “reasonable” in voting to support the court use.

“No one wants to live next to a playground,” he said. “However, you should be able to use your property the way you want to use it.”

The issue first came before the Plan Commission in June. The owner of the property, Emmanuel Agbarah, received a permit in 2018 for a 22-foot-by-35-foot concrete patio in the rear yard, according to a report from Building and Zoning Administrator Scott Bugner. It has since been converted to include a permanently mounted basketball backboard and painted court on the slab.

In April, neighbors complained about noise, saying groups of 6-12 youths and adults were playing “at all times of the day and night,” according to the report. The village then notified Agbarah that continued use of the space for sports would require a special use permit.

The Plan Commission’s vote to recommend that permit came with several conditions regarding the court’s use. Those include building a vinyl privacy fence along portions of the property line, use of netting to keep balls from going into neighbors’ property, and a series of rules for court use including player limits and court hours.

But neighbors remained opposed, and the board Aug. 16 tabled action on the permit, instead asking residents to participate in mediation via the Center for Conflict Resolution in the interest of finding a solution that would appease all involved. The board tabled the permit again Sept. 7, noting mediation had not yet taken place.

Only one neighbor ultimately agreed to participate in the mediation, and they found “no agreeable resolution on the matter,” according to Bugner’s report.

Trustee Gary Daggett also said he recognized the Plan Commission’s support of the plan in his vote and added that he worries about the village applying “per-instance rules” to approvals.

“That could be a very slippery slope,” he said.

Mayor Michelle Nelson noted the final approval from the board includes the rules set forth by the commission, which also prohibits use of lighting on the court.

Trustee George Lofton said he was concerned that progress could not be made on resolving the issues, because he does not want to see neighbors fighting. He also said he does not want to “overbend” the rules.

Flossmoor receives financial award for 43rd consecutive year
Finance Director Scott Bordui announced that Flossmoor received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association for the 43rd straight year. The award was for the village’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for fiscal year 2020.

“It’s viewed really as a community-wide achievement, something really to be celebrated by the residents,” Bordui said. “In many ways, it’s how the world views Flossmoor, similar to our bond rating. With this award comes instant credibility and prestige for the village.”

Bordui noted only 5.85% of cities, towns and villages in the United States receive the award. He wrote in a report to the board the award plays a role in the village’s bond ratings, as well.

“There are tangible benefits to the community,” he said. “This is a triumph for small, local government.”