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County board takes committee out of zoning process

The Ogle County Board has eliminated one step in the zoning process.

The board approved an ordinance to the zoning map amendment and special use permit procedure Dec. 18 that makes the Supervisor of Assessments and Planning & Zoning Committee’s recommendation no longer necessary.

Up to now, after the Zoning Board of Appeals heard a zoning request, it would report its findings to the committee, which also then made a recommendation to the county board on the same request.

The county board makes the final decision on all zoning requests after considering the recommendations.

Now, according to the new ordinance, the ZBA will report its findings directly to the county board without going through the Supervisor of Assessments and Planning & Zoning Committee.

Three county board members who are also members of the committee objected.

Wayne Reising, of Oregon, said the move would be a “disservice” to the county board.

Tom Smith, of Rochelle, agreed.

“We’re the elected people,” he said “Now you want to take us out of the equation.”

The Supervisor of Assessments and Planning & Zoning Committee is made up of seven county board members.

Lyle Hopkins, of Polo, also objected. “I feel that step is a very important step,” he said.

However, board member Marcia Heuer, of Oregon, said county board should consider only the ZBA’s recommendation because it is “judicial” and hears only sworn testimony from both sides in the same room.

The measure passed 17 to 7.

In another matter, the board appointed Carol Magnuson, of Oregon, to serve as interim Supervisor of Assessments after current Supervisor Jim Harrison retires at the end of this month.

Magnuson, a deputy clerk, has worked in the Supervisor of Assessments office for several years.

Board chairman Kim Gouker, of Byron, said the county is allowed to have an interim supervisor for 60 days while it seeks a permanent replacement for Harrison.

The resolution to appoint Magnuson also included a section allowing the county board to study the feasibility of combining the supervisor’s office with another county office or department.

Gouker said that while that move would save money, the legalities still need to be reviewed by state’s attorney Eric Morrow.

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