Illinois Supreme Court Rules Crystal Lake’s Big Bleachers Cannot Stand

stadiumIn a case that’s been ongoing for a couple years, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in late September that the abnormally large bleachers at Crystal Lake South High School must come down, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The battle was between the school district, who erected the 50-foot structures without the city’s permission, and local neighboring residents. The school lost at virtually every level of legal proceedings and has decided to take its latest defeat at the hands of the state’s highest court without dispute.

“We are disappointed with today’s Illinois Supreme Court ruling,” the district said in a statement, but it added that school officials will “move forward in a cooperative and respectful manner” with the city and neighbors.

The $1.2 million structure was built in 2013 to replace the old, small stands and better accommodate fans with disabilities or big crowds in general. The school district didn’t believe they were subject to the same zoning regulations as regular residents and thus built the bleachers without even proposing it to the city.

Unfortunately for them, the people who live directly in the shadow of the weatherproof structure, known locally as “the Berlin Wall of Steel,” did not appreciate the new eye sore or the potential privacy concerns.

Led by one of the neighborhood’s own residents, McHenry County State’s Attorney Louis Bianchi, community members filed a lawsuit alleging the obtrusive bleachers hurt property value and invaded their privacy.

QUOTE: Role the company building structure has in any of this? OR any similar legal cases client has heard about/been involved in?

For their part the school district said the main reason they continued to fight was because of the additional expenses that will now be placed on the taxpayer to remove the current bleachers and replace it again.

While the school district isn’t excited about the work and expenses entailed, both sides are happy the situation can be put behind them. Some residents do think the school at least owes them an apology, though.

“We’re very happy the court side of this is finally over,” Kim Maselbas-Gurba, a neighbor who lives behind the stands, said. “It’s been a nightmare for two years. We feel the district owes the city and all the taxpayers an apology. They should admit they were wrong.”

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