Barrington Countryside fire district trying again for new station off Hough Street
The Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District is making a second try at building a new station that officials say is needed to improve service to the district's east side.
Fire Chief James Kreher said the proposal for a roughly 5-acre site at 1004 S. Hough St. is part of the district's longtime desire for a third station that would benefit residents in Inverness and nearby areas. The land is in unincorporated Cook County just outside Barrington.
"We're going to try to make it fit in the neighborhood," Kreher said Wednesday. "It's on a main road where we can get to the eastern part of our district much quicker and it also helps us assist with the northern part of our district and the southern part of our district."
Before construction can occur, Barrington Countryside must go through a county approval process, starting with a zoning board of appeals online public hearing at 10 a.m. July 8. The district needs a special-use permit for the firehouse because the Hough Street land is zoned for single-family homes.
The district's tentative deak to buy the 5 acres hinges on whether the county grants the permit, Kreher said. The entire project could cost $3 million to $5 million.
In March 2019, the county rejected the district's request for a special-use permit and zoning variances needed to build a new station at 36 E. Dundee Road. That plan called for converting a vacant house into a station on an acre between Barrington Middle School-Prairie Campus and an early learning center.
Barrington Area Unit District 220 lodged a formal objection with Cook County, citing traffic concerns and the potential for reduced property values. The fire district called the county's rejection a setback for regional public safety.
District 220 later bought the site from the fire district for $500,000.
Under the new plan, Barrington Countryside would build a 10,000-square-foot station with two bays. A flashing warning light would be installed to warn Hough Street drivers about exiting fire trucks or ambulances.
Barrington Countryside currently has two firehouses to cover its 48-square-mile territory. The district provides fire and emergency medical service to residents in portions of Barrington Hills, South Barrington, Lake Barrington and Inverness, as well as sections of unincorporated Cook, Lake and McHenry counties.