River Keys gets flood of objections, Part III
By Shellie Berg
By Shellie Berg
The tide is high for the River Keys subdivision developers, who continue to face dissent by residents and neighboring Owen Township Supervisor Owen Bach.
Bach considers the process for obtaining a railroad crossing from I & M RailLinkthe only crossing to be used specifically for the subdivisonwas unethical.
The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) in Chicago approved the crossings. River Keys developer Oliver Schneeman presented himself as the consulting engineer from Machesney Park to the ICC in 1998. Schneeman said he did so because he and Machesney Park wanted to work together. He also said the crossing is the safest way to enter the project.
Its totally misrepresenting the parties to the Commerce Commission, Bach stated. I think its a conflict of interest.
Bach suspects the reason for Schneeman acting as consulting engineer was because its easier when the village goes to do something than when an individual does, he stated. Ultimately, I think it was because [former Village President] Steve Kuhn wanted to do it and justify the means.
Machesney Park Village Attorney Tom Green said that Schneeman represented himself as a consulting engineer because, Machesney Park authorized Mr. Schneeman to take the necessary steps to apply for that railroad crossing. He did it in the name of Machesney Park because they authorized him to.
Green assisted Schneeman in getting the crossing because Schneeman initially sent an application, and the ICC rejected it. Schneeman reimbursed the village for attorneys fees, and it was apparently the only time he assisted them.
Green denies being the regular attorney for the developers. Its been published that way before, he said. Its false now, and its always been false.
Machesney Park approval
Bach is upset about the actions taken by Kuhn and the Machesney Park Village Board. He stated the board served as a rubber stamp for Kuhn. The board approved River Keys, despite going against the townships and constituents wishes, Bach said.
Kuhn declined to speak to The Rock River Times about the villages actions taken on River Keys while he acted as mayor, declaring, Im out of that business now.
The board approved the final plat of the subdivision April 27, just weeks before the takeover of current Village President Linda Vaughn. Vaughn alluded to the controversy surrounding the project and the manner in which developers conversed with residents.
Im not saying they were dishonest. I dont think that they went into it being upfront with the existing residents who live around there, she said. When they asked a question, they skirted it or didnt answer it quickly or honestly. It left a lot of suspicion.
A Plat Committee was created to examine plans and consisted of trustees Diana Johnson, Larry Brostrom and Carl Holder. Holder refused to speak with The Rock River Times, indicating that he is no longer a trustee. All attempts to contact Brostrom and Johnson were unsuccessful.
Katie Waldsmith lives on Bergstrom Rd. and voiced her concerns at public hearings.
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Co Waldsmith said the developers have bulldozed the existing riverbank to put in houses.
I think if youre going to have a waterway … leave it as natural as possible, Waldsmith stated. It is so glaring. Its been absolutely stripped naked.
She agreed with Vaughns statement that the developers failed to communicate openly with residents. They said they had certain affidavits … when they didnt, she said.
Waldsmith feels the residents in the area have taxation without representation. We dont have no say in what they do. Money talks.
She said that at this point, she hopes the developers wont desecrate the land by putting in cracker box houses. At least make it something pretty that will add to the landscape.