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Guest Column: We reject the asphalt plant

August 17, 2011

By Nichole Larison Sammon

The story continues with the proposed asphalt plant William Charles Construction would like to place in the East State Street quarry.

The Winnebago County Zoning Board of Appeals will meet at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 18, at the County Administration Building, 404 Elm St., Room 303. This is the public hearing concerning the special-use permit William Charles Construction is trying to obtain for the asphalt plant. This is the time when all of our neighbors and surrounding neighbors can come together and voice our opinions and concerns about the special-use permit William Charles Construction is petitioning to be approved.

We believe we speak for our neighbors in rejecting this proposal. We do not believe it is a benefit to anyone. An existing plant is already in operation, and the health and welfare of many will be compromised.

From the onset of the proposed plant, protocol was not followed. If a reporter had not come into the Fox Ridge Subdivision and talked to me and another neighbor, we would not have known about the proposed asphalt plant. Through a lot of hard work and diligence, we have found many discrepancies, which will be presented at the public hearing.

According to Rules of Procedures of Winnebago County, William Charles must meet all six standards to be approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals.

We, the Fox Ridge neighborhood, believe they have failed the following three standards, and plan to prove it with facts on our side at the Aug. 18 meeting:

1. The establishment, maintenance or operation of the special use will not be detrimental to or endanger the public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare.

2. The special use will not be injurious to the use and enjoyment of other property in the immediate vicinity for the purposes already permitted, nor substantially diminishes, and impairs property values, within the neighborhood.

3. The establishment of the special use will not impede the normal, or orderly development and improvement of the surrounding property for uses permitted in the district.

Following are the facts to prove those three standards have not been met:

Health

• The asphalt plant will not use the latest environmental technology of blue smoke control, although it was required by the City of Rockford for the Mulford Road quarry asphalt plant location.

• Health studies link asphalt fumes to mild to severe health effects.

• William Charles plans to produce 300,000 to 350,000 tons of asphalt. One-hundred thousand tons would produce the following emissions tons per year without the added emissions from the load-out operations, the silo-filling operation and storage tank: volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, sulfur, nitrogen oxides and polycyclic automatic hydrocarbons.

• And so much more

Enjoyment of property

• William Charles acknowledged the noise, nighttime hours, odor and air emissions in their supplemental narrative to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

• Considerable traffic will be added to the surrounding areas and through the most dangerous intersections in Winnebago County — at the I-90/East State Street exit.

• The property value of the Nimtz neighborhoods compares to that of the Chicago/Rockford International Airport.

Orderly development

• There are 16 undeveloped lots in Fox Ridge. Future residents will consider all other lot locations before deciding to build in Fox Ridge.

The attorney general has now stepped in and is investigating Winnebago County officials under the Open Meetings Act. It is time for the county board chairman, county administrator and other board members to answer why they may not have used proper protocol.

We are all hopeful many will attend the meeting this coming Thursday, Aug. 18, at 5:30 p.m. It’s time for things to change, and united we will be heard.

Can we count on you?

If anyone has any additional information they would like to relay prior to the public hearing, contact me at (815) 713-7632.

Nichole Larison Sammon is a resident of Fox Ridge Subdivision.

From the Aug. 17-23, 2011, issue

3 Comments

  1. Jerry Bohumolski

    August 18, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Yes, Ray. I, too have asked Mr. Sosnowski to join with his neighbors in fighting the installation of the William Charles asphalt plant. I sent him an email immediately upon becoming aware of the impending installation. The silence has been deafening. Remember that the legal adage has always been that “silence implies consent.” In other words, unless he openly states otherwise, you are correct. His silence implies that he favors the plant.
    Now that Mr. Sosnowski is a state representative, he also represents the interests of voters outside of Rockford and Winnebago County. He has made a herculean effort to court voters in Boone County by establishing an office in Belvidere. What he may fail to realize is that the quarry where the asphalt plant is to be located lies on the border of Winnebago and Boone Counties. Households in Boone County along Shaw Road will also be negatively affected. Our neighbors in Boone County are equally incensed as will become evident at tonight’s meeting. By remaining silent, he is alienating voters in both counties.
    I wonder how much longer he intends to sit on the fence.

  2. John

    August 18, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Yeah, Ray…we should all vote for Democrats because we know they are INDEPENDENT of their party. It dosen’t matter what Mike Madigan thinks or wants…Democrats “go their own way”.

    Oooh, wait, no they don’t. Democrats are the most knuckled-under politicans known to man. They cowtail to every whim of Speaker Madigan, or former Speaker Pelosi!

  3. Jerry Bohumolski

    August 19, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    The meeting is to be continued at 5:30 p.m. on September 14th at the same location. Nichole did give an excellent presentation in spite of several lnterruptions ln blatant violation of protocol by the William Charles contingent. Presentations by those opposed to the asphalt plant will be heard on September 14th . It was also noted that the committee blatantly violated the Open Meetings Act by meeting behind closed doors and clandestinely conferring with William Charles witnesses afterwards. The county board is already under investigation by the Illinois Attorney General’s office and this latest violation will only add fuel to the fire.

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