Williamson County, Illinois commissioners consider zoning laws


Reporter - Kathryn DiGisi

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Ill. - A lot of people living outside city limits in Williamson County are complaining that the view from their home is anything but pleasing to the eye.

There have been no zoning laws in place in the county since the 1980's.

That means people can legally leave their trash on the side of the road, refuse to clean or fix dilapidated homes, and even build structures without paying taxes on them.

Williamson County Commissioners say that something needs to be done.

Business in the county may have its perks if you are a bartender, because, when the bars shut down inside city limits, the party continues just a few miles down the road.

"The extra hour does really help because of the overflow.  We tend to make a lot more money in that last hour that we're open," said bartender Heather Midgett.

But homeowners often have to deal with some unpleasant views.

For example, an abandoned arena off Route 166.

It was damaged in a tornado a few years back and it sits untouched to this day.

"Debris like this is subject to all the high winds, with the storms that come through. Material just blows every which direction," said Williamson County Commissioner Jim Marlo.

Marlo does not think it is fair.

"We've got people in the neighborhood here who take a lot of pride in protecting their property and maintaining their yards," said Marlo.

But their views are compromised, and there are simply no laws to remedy the mess.

The abandoned arena is not the only eye sore in the county.

Phone calls and emails flood Marlo's office.

"I've gotten a couple calls of homes that have burned and have been left dormant for months if not years," said Marlo.

Marlo says the goal is to protect everyone's property and maintain its value.

He says everyone, city and county residents, should have to abide by the same laws.

The County Commissioners are working together to create a set of zoning laws that will make everyone happy.

Marlo says he wants you to contact his office and give your input, because in the end, the zoning decision will come to a public vote.