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

9 Comments

  1. Brian JenkinsLeggero

    August 17, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    I wonder if Mrs. Larison Sammon knows that one of her neighbors Rep. Joe Sosnowski has to be FOR the Asphalt Plant going in there. I wonder if Rep. Joe Sosnowski has called Mrs. Larison Sammon or his other neighbors “rediculous” for opposing the asphalt plant like he said to the people opposed to the Asphalt Plant going in on Mulford. Rep. Joe Sosnowski called the people that opposed the Asphalt Plant on Mulford “rediculous” to oppose such a “great” thing for the area and Rockford. Now William Charles wants to put that asphalt plant right in Rep. Joe Sosnowski’s back yard. It will be interesting to see if Rep. Joe Sosnowski now opposes such a thing and if he will thus call himself “rediculous” for opposing something he thought was a “great” idea for the area. Rep. Joe Sosnowski is already on the record being for an Asphalt plant even closer to human beings (men, women, and children) than the proposed new location. Let’s see what he says now. It will be interesting very interesting to see what position he takes now. Thank you

  2. Ray Johnson

    August 17, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Well Brian, in answer to your question above, Joe Sosnowski was contacted by one of his constituents about the proposed Asphalt plant for the East State Street Quarry. Joe offered to take her on a personal tour of the Nimtz plant. Now you know why I did not vote for him because, as far as I’m concerned, I believe that he is will do whatever his party tells him to do. Joe obviously is in favor of the proposed Asphalt plant. To the best of my knowledge he has not tried to contact us or any of our neighbors in the Fox Ridge subdivision. I and my wife are residents of the Fox Ridge subdivision and are opposed to the Asphalt plant. Our reasons will be presented tomorrow night with a presentation by Nichole.

  3. Brian JenkinsLeggero

    August 18, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Thank you for the info Mr. Johnson. Joe does what the big money and establishment tells him to. I act on what the people want their representatives to do for them, that’s the big difference between us. Rep. Joe Sosnowski is probably planning on making another move soon and doesn’t mind sticking his old neighborhood with an asphalt plant that will harm the health of men, women and children. Rep. Joe Sosnowski is a proven political opportunist / candidate schooled politician calculating his next move. He came here from Chicago you know. The Alderman that won against me in the last election for our Ward 1 promised to “Continue the great leadership of Joe Sosnowski and Joe’s independent voice” I laughed when I read that, especially the “independent” part. I wonder where Alderman Durkee stands on the Asphalt plant, he’s supposed to be a “Doctor” I wonder if he really cares about human beings health more than big money or what the Mayor who appointed him wants(More on “Dr.” Durkee later). See you tonight and I’m glad there are people out there that are willing to stand up to big money. I know first hand what an incredible mountain that is to climb. It will take a lot of determination and persistence. Thank you for reading my thoughts and post. Sincerely, Brian Jenkins Leggero

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. Ray

    August 19, 2011 at 9:08 am

    John,it is not a matter of voting republican or democratic, its putting people in office that have the best interest of the people they represent, and not just the big money.We need people in office who can think for themselves and not just follow blindly. That is why I try and vote for the people that I believe will have our best interests in mind. Obviously,from your statement above, your one of the blind mice!!

  7. Brian JenkinsLeggero

    August 19, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    I thought it was a great meeting last night showing our democracy is still in action and, I feel our founding Fathers would have been proud of each and everyone there. Civil arguments are the foundation of our Republic and have led to great things happening for our Country and all of us. Jerry you are absolutely correct, Roberts Rules of Order also recognizes silence as consent, remaining silent is a “yes” vote. Not willing to get involved or be completely one sided is a completely different matter all together. There were concerns brought about last night by the neighbors both in Winnebago County and Boone County that I feel are important and need to be recognized and acted upon. I apologize for having to leave at 8:30pm. I wish I could have stayed til the end and hear Nichole’s presentation but I had a previous commitment. I am willing to put in the time needed to help out regarding this matter and hope we can have a meeting together again soon. I think they said next Wednesday the 24th the County Board Committee will be taking this up but no other presentations will be allowed. I can be reached by email brian@jenkinsleggero.com and will provide my telephone number via email. I have ideas and the willingness to help out. Thank you

  8. 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.

  9. Mohammed Rustom

    October 10, 2011 at 10:33 am

    I applaud Mrs. Sammon’s efforts. We cannot accept such blatant violation of our rights to a safe and clean environment for us and, most importantly, our kids.

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