Yorkville will not de-annex preserve
By Steve Lord email@example.com October 13, 2013 8:54PM
Updated: November 15, 2013 6:28AM
YORKVILLE — Aldermen here say they will try to work something out with Kendall County to make the liquor license process at Hoover Forest Preserve easier.
But that solution will not involve the city de-annexing any parts of Hoover, which is within Yorkville’s municipal boundaries.
A consensus of aldermen told Forest Preserve President Jeff Wehrli they’re afraid de-annexing Hoover would open the door to other properties that might want to leave the city.
“We have had others ask to de-annex, and we said no,” said Alderman Carlo Colosimo, 1st Ward. “I’m afraid we would be flooded with more serious requests.”
Wehrli had asked the city, on behalf of the Forest Preserve District, to de-annex the part of Hoover that includes the Meadowhawk Lodge, remodeled several years ago.
The lodge is now such an up-to-date facility that Forest Preserve officials can host wedding receptions there.
“It changed the scope of service there,” Wehrli said. “We have the ability to put weddings in a forest setting.”
Hoover is the second forest preserve to allow liquor, the other being Ellis, which also has a facility used for weddings and other types of meetings. The Forest Preserve District awards liquor licenses to individual vendors, basically caterers, who must apply and pass hearings and background checks similar to what a bar owner would face to get a liquor license.
But with Hoover inside Yorkville limits, any vendor there also must get a license from Yorkville. Wehrli said the Forest Preserve District was hoping “to make things a little more seamless” by approving a license to individual vendors that would cover both Ellis and Hoover.
“This is kind of a special need we feel would help us,” he said.
Alderman Larry Kot, 2nd Ward, agreed. He said Yorkville annexed Hoover years ago when the Boy Scouts of America, who owned that property and had a camp there, left. At the time, city officials were afraid the property would “go private,” and the city wanted to be able to regulate what went in there.
Eventually, the Forest Preserve purchased the property and made it into a preserve. The Meadowhawk Lodge is what remains of the Boy Scouts facility, now remodeled into a modern facility.
“I don’t have a problem doing this,” Kot said. “The property is what we want it to be. That’s not going to change.”
But aldermen said they feared setting the precedent, and harkened back to the landfill situation in town, when a property owner attempted to leave the city to try to get the county to approve a landfill the city would not approve.
“My feeling is, once you’re in, you’re in,” said Alderman Chris Funkhouser, 3rd Ward.
Yorkville officials said they would be willing to try to come up with some way to make the liquor license situation easier for the Forest Preserve District, as long as it doesn’t involve de-annexation.
“We’ll work any way we can to make the license work,” said Mayor Gary Golinski.