Barrington Hills landowner agrees to remove massive wood piles
A Barrington Hills landowner and McHenry County struck a deal Wednesday settling at least some issues in an ongoing legal dispute over massive stacks of logs, branches and other wood piled on his property.
Under the agreement, signed off on by McHenry County Judge Michael Caldwell, property owner Philip Maksymonko pledges to remove all the wood spilling from his land and onto a neighbor's, as well as any log larger than 36 inches in diameter, within two weeks.
He then has two more weeks to remove any other pieces unsuitable for firewood. Once that is complete, Maksymonko must cut the remaining wood on his property in the 3100 block of Spring Creek Road, adjacent to the Algonquin border, and store it neatly.
"I'll do my best this summer to get out and split as much as I can stack it in a more neat fashion," Maksymonko said after Caldwell signed the court order. "The county seems very concerned with neatness. I think the government is sticking its nose too far into people's business."
If Maksymonko fulfills the pledge, it should partially settle a lawsuit filed by the county in September alleging that the stacks of wood - some larger than nearby homes - and other materials stored on his property create a public nuisance.
Assistant McHenry County State's Attorney Lynn Criscione was not ready Wednesday to say the matter was nearing an end, even with the agreement in place.
"It remains to be seen what happens now," she said.
Maksymonko previously said in court he uses the wood to heat his home during winter. But county officials and neighbors said he allowed landscaping and tree companies to dump tons of lumber on his property, including in wetlands, and left it sitting there, creating safety, health and environmental hazards.
The county lawsuit also alleges that Maksymonko has kept landscaping waste, broken concrete and an old dump truck on the property. He said Wednesday the concrete has been taken away, but the truck remains and he does not intend to remove it.
Maksymonko is scheduled to return to court June 9 to update Caldwell on his progress and deal with the remaining issues with the county.