Guest Column: Trim-Rite should back up word with bond

July 1, 1993

My wife and I are opposed to Trim-Rite locating within less than a mile of our house. My primary, but not only objection, is based on the smell that would obviously come from the many “cattle trucks” that would frequent the plant. I am sure you have had the “pleasant” experience of following just one of these trucks on the highway. What would it smell like downwind from 10 of them, or 20, or 50? Does anyone on the City Council or County Board realize what happens when it rains? These trucks get a free “wash job,” their contents emptying out onto the local streets, eventually to find its way into our ground water supply. Most of us in this area get our water from wells. Also, from the comments published in the local paper, from property owners located near similar plants in other locations, “it stinks.”

I am not a lawyer, but it would seem to me that there should be legal recourse to property owners that would be negatively impacted by the smell, much the same as in the case of someone who burns leaves and doesn’t give a damn about the smoke drifting throughout the neighborhood. Is the owner of this plant willing to stand behind his claim that there would be no smell? He should have to put up a $100 million bond, payable to the local property owners, to back up his word. If he isn’t willing to do that, something definitely stinks! If the City and County are also saying that it wouldn’t smell, are they willing to permanently abolish property taxes on affected property if it does? It would seem to me that the City of Rockford and the County of Winnebago certainly must bear some financial or legal responsibility if they insist on steamrolling this plant into someone’s neighborhood, knowing the issue of the smell has already been put before them. It would seem to me that a good team of lawyers could sue the city and county for discrimination, dereliction of duty, or something, much like what happened to Rockford’s school district.

If the city and county want to put this kind of putrid operation in their constituency’s backyard, they should buy up all the affected property, just as airports must do on account of the noise issue.

I realize that the plant would create jobs, but shouldn’t businesses be located in areas with similar businesses that have similar characteristics? I thought that was what zoning was all about. Wouldn’t a better location be by the Rockford Water Reclamation facility, or a cattle feed lot? Maybe none of our local politicians have any financial interests in property at those locations.

Rich and Dee Gibson are concerned residents of Winnebago County.

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