New fire district, Campton Hills station hit snag
Campton Hills officials have now brought a cease-and-desist order to the battle over construction of a new fire station in the district.
Virgil Leasing received the order Monday. The order followed the withdrawal of the special use permit request by the Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District to open a new fire station in the village. The fire station is a key part of the district's move to end its service contract with the city of St. Charles for fire and ambulance services.
"Although the district was assured that the special use was merely a formality, the actions of the village board and the village president have demonstrated that the village intends to impose unacceptable and unlawful conditions on the granting of any special use and has prejudged the eventual outcome of the process," said fire district attorney Ken Shepro in a written statement. "It is absolutely beyond dispute that the village lacks the power to impose its zoning ordinance on the district's fire station."
Shepro's statement is based on the idea that the fire district has a legal obligation to "provide for the public health, safety and welfare" of the people it serves. That includes the construction of fire stations and the use of eminent domain, if need be, to accomplish that task, Shepro wrote.
With that in mind, the district planned to receive additional construction materials to work on the new station Monday and plunge forward with construction. That's when the village intervened with the stop work order and a call to stop playing political games with the process.
"The Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District has not been acting in good faith in its relationship with the village," said Village President Patsy Smith in a written statement.
Smith said once it became clear the fire district wanted to build a fire station the village tried to speed up the review process only to see the district fail to supply information and documents about the fire station to the village for the past six weeks. Smith said the district's withdrawal of the permit application only prolongs the process.
"They cannot legally continue building without the proper approvals," Smith wrote. "What is needed at this point is for the fire district end its 'gamesmanship' and deal with the village and the citizens of the fire district in a straightforward manner. The lives of our citizens are at stake, and the village board does not appreciate the fire district's deceptive methods of conducting business."