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Commission votes to not participate in East Zion Visitor Center

The Commission met on Tuesday, February 8, at 3:00 PM at the Kane County Courthouse. Commissioners Chamberlain and Heaton were in attendance. Commissioner Gant attended by phone. Commissioner Chamberlain called the meeting to order at 3:01 PM, with Commissioner Heaton providing the invocation and leading the room in the Pledge of Allegiance. After approving the consent agenda and last meeting’s minutes the commission addressed this week’s topics.

The first item on the agenda, Kane County Resolution R-2022-15 a Resolution Responding to the Request to Add Parks & Recreation Services to the Zion Mountain Local Service District, represented a decision on whether Kane County would be involved in constructing the East Zion Visitor Center. The commission voted unanimously – Kane County will not be involved in the project.

Commissioner Chamberlain noted that a required public hearing was held, as well as two town hall meetings to discuss the issue. “We received a lot of input, including emails and phone calls, and appreciate everyone’s participation in the process.” He went on to summarize the resolution, saying, “This resolution responds to the request from the Zion Mountain Local Service District by affirming that the county will not provide the services of parks and recreation within the boundaries of the service district, and specifically will not build the visitor center set forth in the request.” He continued, “If they proceed with the construction of the visitor center, Kane County will not contribute any county funds to the project,” noting that the resolution will take effect immediately.

The agenda item that sparked the most discussion was Kane County Ordinance O-2022-06 Amending Title 9 Chapter 4, Chapter 6, and Chapter 20 of the Kane County Land Use Ordinance Regarding the Residential 1/2 (R-1/2) and Residential 1 (R-1) Zones. At issue was whether to drop the R-1/2 Zone. Commissioner Chamberlain opened the meeting to a public hearing to allow for comments and questions. There were many, including questions about the reasons for the change and its impact on housing and land costs. Commissioner Heaton pointed out that he’d initially brought up the issue to the commission. Asked for a comment after the meeting he said, “The commission’s intent is not to regulate growth or population, but to address the differences between unincorporated parcels and lots in the county and parcels and lots in the city. We’ve had some challenges with regards to people in unincorporated parts of the county who want municipal-type services.”

Asked if this topic is related to previous discussions about special service districts providing municipal-type services, he replied, “Yes. The county really does not provide municipal services. When an unincorporated part of the county wants municipal-type services, typically they’re provided through a special services district. It’s a large county, and some property owners want certain services, but those services may not be applicable to other parts of the county. Special service districts allow services to be provided on more of a micro-scale, and only the people in the district pay for those services.” The commission voted unanimously to adopt the resolution.

Balancing the needs of Kane County residents against the limits of county resources is a herculean task, with equally important parts played by elected officials, county employees, and the public they serve. Kane County’s commission meetings shine a welcome light on this collaborative process.

The meeting ended with a motion to adjourn at 4:28 PM. The motion carried unanimously.

Kane County Commission meetings are held on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at 3:00 p.m., at the Kane County Courthouse. The agenda and a recording of this meeting can be found at the Kane County Commission website:




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