Public hearing on Winnebago Landfill expansion April 24
• A second public hearing will be Monday, April 30, if necessary
Public participation hearings on the proposed expansion of the Winnebago Landfill, 8403 Lindenwood Road, Rockford, will be from 6 to 9 p.m., Tuesday, April 24, and, if necessary, from 6 to 9 p.m., Monday, April 30.
The hearings will be held in the Winnebago County Board Room, 400 W. State St., eighth floor, Rockford.
During public participation hearings, members of the public are invited to appear and comment on the application for expansion of the landfill.
Written comments can be filed with the Winnebago County Clerk’s Office, 404 Elm St., first floor, room 104, Rockford, starting on the date the application was filed until 30 days after the last public hearing. Comments postmarked within that 30-day period (even though received later) will become part of the record and are to be considered by the board.
Hearings with registered parties on the proposed expansion of the landfill will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday, April 23, and continue through that week, with the exception of Wednesday, April 25.
All interested citizens are reminded that no evidence or testimony outside of the public hearings or written comments sent to the county clerk can be considered by the Winnebago County Board chairman or Winnebago County Board members in its vote to approve or disapprove the proposed expansion.
The county board chairman and county board members are prohibited from considering conversations, phone calls, written materials, advertisements or information on websites presented to them outside of the hearing.
After the hearing and the comment period, a hearing officer will prepare and submit to the Winnebago County Board his report and recommendation. The county board will make its decision based upon the record from the public hearing and may also consider the recommendations of the hearing officer. The county board will then render its decision in a resolution.
This procedure is unlike any the county usually engages in. The county board acts in a quasi-judicial capacity, similar to how a judge acts in court proceedings. County board members cannot engage in discussions with representatives of the parties or members of the public concerning matters involving the application or public hearing. Rather, the members of the county board must base their decision only on the record created through the public hearing process. Engaging in outside discussions could lead to a claim of unfairness, and cause a member to be disqualified.
Section 39.2 of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act governs the procedures the county must follow in reviewing the application for expansion of the landfill. These hearings are required by Illinois state law so the public can give input to be reviewed by the county board.
At least one public hearing must be held no sooner than 90 days but no later than 120 days after the application was filed. As is customary in these proceedings, and as allowed by law, the county has engaged the services of a hearing officer who will preside over the public hearing.
From the April 18-24, 2012, issue
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