The owner of Hide-A-Way Lakes Campground outside Yorkville told a Kendall County Board committee that he has cleaned up the campground and downplayed reports of criminal activity on his property.
Tom Tanner of Yorkville told the County Board’s Planning, Building, and Zoning Committee Monday evening, July 10, that he has cleaned up most of the alleged ordinance violations on his property.
County building officials had sent Tanner a letter detailing various ordinance violations and the chairman of the County Board’s Law, Justice, and Legislation Committee sent a letter to the PBZ committee asking them to consider revoking the special use zoning on the campground.
The Kendall County Sheriff’s Office compiled a list of police calls in 2015 and 2016, and stated that most of the calls “indicated that an individual or individuals have permanent residence at the campground,” which would be against the special use, according to officials.
Aaron Rybski, director of environmental health services at the Kendall County Health Department, outlined “violations of several different ordinances” related to issues such as septic failures, damaged sewer caps, tires and other violations. He said the agency will inspect the property again July 27.
According to Tanner’s attorney, Daniel Kramer of Yorkville, the campground was first developed in 1967 by Rollin English. Kramer said the County Board at the time did not grant the zoning for the campground and instead it was established after English took the county to court. Kramer said there were no special use restrictions at the time as the zoning was approved by court order.
Tanner bought the campground in 1977, and later agreed to sit down with county officials and hammer out a special use zoning agreement, Kramer said.
Among the restrictions in the document from 1981 was that “No RV shall be used as a permanent place of abode, dwelling, or business for indefinite periods of time. Continuous occupancy beyond four months in any 12 month period shall be presumed to be permanent occupancy.”
Also, individual phone service or mail service for campers is prohibited, according to the document.
The number of lots in the campground was limited to 1,150, and is limited to 500 with sewer, water, and electric; 400 with water and electric; and 250 unimproved.
Kramer said some of the alleged violations have been fixed, such as repaired sewer caps and removal of tires on the property. Kramer said the leases on campsites require residents to reside for no longer than four months at a time on the property
Committee member Matt Kellogg noted that a report from the Sheriff’s office stated that there were 77 cars registered to the campground address, and that there were residents who accept mail at the campground, which is not allowed per the county ordinance.
Tanner said there weren’t that many cars registered, that it was closer to 15 to 20 on the property and that they come and go.
Tanner also disputed the number of police calls at the campground. He said the police stop people outside of the campground and “check that against” him. He said that there was only one drug overdose last year and that there were domestic violence calls but that it was due to three or four people who no longer live at the campground.
“I think it’s unfair to say my place is so terrible, you know,” Tanner said.
Regarding events that have been held at the campground, Tanner said that per the ordinance he can have up to 4,600 people there at a time.
Tanner said the county has no right to take away his zoning.
“You should have some cause of action where I do something illegal,” Tanner said. “Then you can take me to court and take away my zoning. But you’re talking about taking my zoning away when I’ve done nothing where I was arrested or convicted of anything. Where’s the cause of action?”
Davidson said Tanner had done a “good job” cleaning up the campground.
The issue will be coming back to the PBZ Committee next month.