Letter: An open letter

By on September 22, 2011

My wife and I have lived in the Rolling Oaks Town Home Development of Sugar Grove for the past six years. Last week, we and other residents of our development received a Board of Directors letter from our Rolling Oaks Town Homeowners Association. The letter stated that some of the residents on Glenn Drive in our development were planning a “block party” for this past weekend. The letter also stated that the Board of Directors had in no way endorsed or even approved the “block party.”

Instead, the letter indicated that both the Sugar Grove Police Department and the Sugar Grove Fire Department had approved this party to occur on Saturday, Sept. 10. On Saturday evening while the party was in progress, two Sugar Grove police officers (who were apparently called to the scene) indicated that the village of Sugar Grove actually approved the party and that we could check with the village clerk for the details.

Most people would think a “block party” would be for the residents of the block or of the subdivision involved. This has not the been the case for block parties held here in the past several years, and this year’s party was no different. Just a few residents in our development decided to have a party, then invite all their friends, most of whom do not even live here. This would be readily apparent to anyone who witnessed the volume of traffic and parking of non-resident vehicles along Rolling Oaks Road and Mallard Lane. Attendees of the party probably numbered from 125 to 150 people, and most residents of this development were not even invited.

By 4:30 p.m., we counted about 40 non-resident vehicles parked along Rolling Oaks Road and Mallard Lane. About 5 p.m., my wife and I left the development and did not return until about 9:30 p.m., when we counted approximately 60 non-resident vehicles parked along Rolling Oaks Road and Mallard Lane. Upon our arrival, we could hardly get through the traffic and pedestrian congestion on Rolling Oaks Road, which included two Sugar Grove Police cars that had apparently been called to the scene of the “block party.”

There are some very disgusting features about the village of Sugar Grove’s approval of that so-called “block party” last Saturday on Glenn Drive.

First, it was a private party and not a block party for the residents of the local townhome subdivision. Whoever authorized the party should have been aware that more than 100 non-residents would be in attendance.

Second, it was a “drinking party.” The combination of alcoholic beverages along with a crowd of 100 people or more would be more appropriate at a tavern, country club or a banquet hall, and not in a residential townhome development where the crowd, traffic and noise is disruptive to residents who are not even part of the private party.

Third, the village’s authorization (be it the Police Department, Fire Department or Village Board) effectively overrode the authority of our local Rolling Oaks Town Homeowners Association’s rules, which would not have allowed this type of party to happen in the first place.

Fourth, Glenn Drive is a dead-end street that accommodates eight townhome residences in our community. Not all those residences were participants of the private party. Even more disgusting is that the Sugar Grove Fire Department felt it was necessary for them to provide a tax-supported fire engine and ambulance to block the entrance to Glenn Drive for purposes of this private party. Another Sugar Grove Fire Department vehicle was parked to the west of Glenn Drive in a no-parking fire lane that was not any part of the private party area.

Fifth, authorization of that party did not stop party attendees from strolling along Rolling Oaks Road and Mallard Lane with open cans of beer and other beverages. One of the vehicles along Rolling Oaks Road was a motor home, which was allowing certain party goers to come and go frequently, for whatever purpose.

Sixth, the village of Sugar Grove appears to approve “block parties” very loosely. Today, I learned that there is no specific Sugar Grove ordinance or provision within its Code of Ordinances that requires a written application or fee to obtain permission for a “block party.” One young lady verbally requested permission for the party last Saturday and her request was granted.

Finally, I want you to know that I am not really a chronic complainer. In your positions, I know it is difficult to please everyone. A number of years ago, I served eight years on the Village Board of a nearby community. I am fully aware there are politics and then there are also those “good old boy” politics.

The Sugar Grove public deserves much better attention than was displayed in approving last weekend’s “block party.” If you continue to use a loose policy for “block parties” in the future, at least take some time to consider the impact your decision may have on the general public which you serve.

Lyle V. Johnson
Sugar Grove