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Article updated: 8/7/2012 4:19 PM

E. Dundee trustees hold hearing on disputed property

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A neighborhood feud between East Dundee's ex-village president, a man who ran as a trustee in the last election and their wives reached the village board room on Monday night.

Former Village President Dan O'Leary and former trustee candidate Patrick Clarke live next door to each other, and O'Leary wants the village board to give him right of way property on Lake Shore Drive adjacent to his land that includes boulders, a retaining wall and several shrubs he's added to the property. There also are steps on the property that lead to Lake Shore Drive that were in place before he moved into the house in 2001.

If the board gives the property to O'Leary, he would be responsible for maintaining the land.

The village board held a hearing on the matter Monday but delayed the vote until the next board meeting.

"I simply am asking the village; I'd like to keep my stairs there, not build into the roadway," O'Leary said. "If they feel differently, they can remove the stairs and have the roadway put back."

But Clarke and his wife, Allison, argue that giving the land to the O'Learys would make it easier for the O'Learys to go after them and their guests civilly for trespassing or for negligent driving if they accidentally run into the property.

Right now, Patrick Clarke says he is already fighting two tickets for reckless driving that involve him running into things on O'Leary's property.

They also say that turning the property over to O'Leary would mean the village wouldn't have the authority to put in a sidewalk, lighting, widen the road or make other improvements.

"It's too narrow now, and it's setting a precedent in the state of Illinois for people to camp out on property and then claim it as their own," Allison Clarke said, adding that she's got at least 40 signatures on a petition against the proposal.

The Clarkes also charge that O'Leary, who was village president from 2007-09, is using his clout to sway the village board -- trustees Jeff Lynam, Rob Gorman and Michael Ruffulo were all on the board when O'Leary was president.

It's a claim O'Leary denies.

"I certainly have no influence with the board," O'Leary said.

O'Leary, Clarke and their wives are locked in a four-year spat that O'Leary says started when he asked Clarke to keep his dog from defecating on the O'Leary property.

Clarke said his issues with the O'Learys started after they built a garage he believes wasn't up to code. When he started asking about it, O'Leary got the village to "clamp down" on him by threatening to fine him over a storm drain he'd installed on the easement, Clarke said.

Yet a board vote won't likely settle the feud between the Clarkes and O'Learys, one trustee said.

"This piece of land, I don't believe, is the cause of the dispute, so I don't think it would be the end of whatever they're disputing about," Gorman said.

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