Rockton divided over need for development

Opponents of the proposed annexation of an 8 acre parcel of land at 4282 Rockton Rd. are gearing up for a public hearing at the Dec. 5 Rockton Village Board meeting. Proponents argue the need for more commercial development to serve Rockton’s growing community. The hearing was originally scheduled for Oct. 17, but residents who filled Village Hall that night felt slighted when told the hearing would be postponed.

“I’m very disappointed. This is just a stall tactic,” said former Village Trustee Scott Fridley. “The developers have had this in the process since Jan. 26.” He added the annexation has previously been shot down in committee and by the board.

Village Trustee Dave Winters agreed. “I don’t know how many times our advisory boards have to turn something down before we can finally have a public hearing,” Winters said.

Village President Dale Adams asserted Gambino Realtors needed more time to refine their presentation.

With the words History Heritage Pride adorning the chamber wall, some residents fear the village is coming to stand for Develop Doze Demolish.

“We don’t need it,” Rockton resident Sue Smith voiced to the board. “It’s not right, and we’re hoping you guys would make a responsible decision on behalf of the people that live around the property.” Smith said the proposed annexation would directly impact 20 residents on adjoining properties.

Fridley and Winters speculated Adams was simply buying time to appoint a yes-man to fill the trustee seat vacated by Tim Slocum Oct. 13. Slocum stepped down because he purchased a new home in Roscoe.

In his resignation letter, which was not read at the Oct. 17 meeting, Slocum wrote, “Scott [Fridley] has served eight years as Village Trustee and is the most qualified candidate to step in and take over immediately.” Slocum pointed out Fridley serves on the Parks Committee and regularly attends village board meetings.

During public comments, Fridley formally expressed interest in being considered to take over Slocum’s seat. Adams instead pushed for Dickerson Nieman Realtor John Peterson, who has since withdrawn his name from consideration.

“He thought that he should spend more time in one of the committees before stepping up to the board seat,” Adams explained. “At this point, I’m leaning toward Larry Saline to fill the vacant position.” If Saline is appointed, Adams said he’d recommend Peterson to take over Saline’s spot on the Planning Commission. Retired, Saline has been in regular attendance at most committee and board meetings.

Adams added he does not know where Peterson or Saline stand on the proposed annexation.

“We’re not going anywhere,” promised Fridley, referring to the standing-room-only crowd of residents who expected to have their say. “I’ll be back. All these people will be back.” Their voices will be heard at Rockton Village Hall Dec. 5 when the board is expected to vote on the issue.

From the Nov. 1-7, 2006, issue

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