August 6, 2009

County commissioners deny resignation of zoning and planning members

By Brenda L. Shelkey

The working relationship between McLean County Commissioners and members of the Zoning and Planning Commission took a strange twist after a recommendation from zoning and planning to deny a conditional use permit and building permit request made by Jason Schauer, Washburn. The decision to overturn the zoning and planning recommendation may have been a first for commissioners, but they did their homework during the June 22 commission meeting. The concern by the seven-member Zoning and Planning Commission was that legal proceedings were likely to begin since construction on the Schauer home began before permits were approved. Following State’s Attorney Ladd Erickson’s explanation that the matter was not a criminal matter, but a procedural one which would entail a fine of $250 to $500, but didn’t necessarily require holding up approval of the zoning change and permit request, commissioners approved the request as long as construction did not proceed until the building permit was approved. The three McLean County commissioners overturned the zoning and planning recommendation to approve the zoning change in a unanimous decision. During the following Zoning and Planning Commission meeting, Neil Heringer angrily requested the resignation of Robert Rasmusson and Julie Hudson-Schenfisch from the Zoning and Planning Commission. During Tuesday’s McLean County Commission meeting, Zoning and Planning Chairperson Robert Rasmusson asked to speak with commissioners about the situation. He said, "If Julie (Hudson-Schenfisch) has resigned, I ask that you do not accept her resignation. I would like some ideas about what to do with the zoning commission." Rasmusson felt that Hudson-Schenfisch should not be obligated to vote the same way the zoning commission recommends, but should instead vote accordingly, based on her knowledge of the situation and in the best interest of all parties.

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