Objections filed by two Hawthorn Woods residents might foil a group's attempts to put a controversial annexation to referendum vote this fall.
Residents Bob Cooper and Dominick DiMaggio find fault with a petition residents of Kildeer Estates and Forest Lake subdivisions circulated to Hawthorn Woods residents, and filed with the village July 30. The two areas were forcibly annexed by Hawthorn Woods on July 1.
The petition would put the decision to annex those properties on the Nov. 2 ballot, neutralizing the village's decision until the public votes, said attorney Bill Braithwaite, who is representing the petitioners.
But if Hawthorn Woods' electoral board validates the objections when it meets Aug. 19, the annexation question will not make it to the ballot, said village clerk Donna Lobaito, who with two village trustees comprises the board. If it finds the objections invalid, the matter will go to referendum vote.
Cooper said he is objecting to the petition because it had certain omissions: it did not clearly state the public question; neither the circulator nor the petitioners included their home addresses to prove residency in Hawthorn Woods; and the petition pages were improperly numbered.
When he heard about the petition, Cooper asked for a copy from the village and immediately noticed the errors, he said. He has submitted petitions with the village and always had to abide by state statutes, he said.
Braithwaite said he and the petitioners made sure to properly prepare and circulate the document so it was valid.
"We don't believe the addresses are required," he said. "That statute is not applicable at all to this petition."
Cooper also said he believes the referendum push did not come from the affected subdivisions but from people around that area, and that struck him as "improper."
"It looks, on the surface, as though somebody is simply trying to block Hawthorn Woods for another village's purposes," he said. "I have no proof. It looks that way."
According to the Illinois Municipal Code, a petition may be filed with the village clerk within 30 days of forced annexation and must contain signatures from at least 10 percent of the population that voted in the last municipal election. In Hawthorn Woods' case, that number is about 140, Braithwaite said. The petition contains 257 signatures, and no Kildeer Estates or Forest Lake residents were allowed to sign it.
If the electoral board rejects the petition because of objections, the petitioners can file suit to have the petition reviewed in court, Lobaito said.