Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2013, 9:45 pm

Hampton residents complain ice anglers trespassing

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By Sarah Ford, correspondent@qconline.com

HAMPTON -- The Hampton Village Board this week again dealt with complaints from Safe Harbor residents that people are encroaching on the grounds of the condominium complex as they go to Mississippi River to fish.

There also were complaints from a resident who claims the village has encroached on public property by allowing a fence along the shore, which limits public access to the marina.

At the Jan. 7 meeting, Safe Harbor residents expressed concerns over ice fishermen crossing their property to access the marina. They acknowledged they couldn't keep people from entering the harbor to fish, as long as they enter from the river through the inlet, since the waters are public.

Their problem was with people crossing the condo property to gain access, as well as littering and animals running loose once fishermen were in the marina.

After that meeting, the condo association had a survey done to locate the property line between the marina inlet and the adjoining property and had a fence installed. However, Skip McLaughlin argued that the new fence, which runs parallel with 1st Avenue on the village right of way, encroaches on public property, and threatened to take legal action. "We're going to challenge it. You can't keep people away from the marina."

Mayor Kevin Irby presented a document from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources which essentially stated the marina waters are public and can be used by the public. However, the dispute over the fencing is up to the association, once the boundaries are more clearly mapped out.

"We've done all we can to provide the legal information you need," Mayor Irby told the Safe Harbor residents. "We're going to let it run its course."

The Safe Harbor Association has hired an engineering firm to conduct a new survey and plat examination to clearly define the boundaries between the village right of way and Safe Harbor properties.

In other action, the board accepted the resignation by Trustee Scott Newberg, who has moved to Rock Island; and approved the hiring of Sherry Hooker as event coordinator for the Heritage Center.

They also approved the purchase of an automated external defibrillator for the for the fire department, at a cost not to exceed $2,500.