A former candidate for Mayor of Woodstock and City Council candidate this year offers comments on the City Council’s action on amending the agreement with Merryman Aggregate:
The City Council at the February 1st meeting voted four to two (Councilmen Ahrens and Councilwoman Dillon dissented, Councilman Saladin recused himself) in favor of a negotiated version of the Plan Commission’s recommendations to amend the special use gravel permit at the Merryman site.
The negotiated amendment eliminated virtually all of the Commissions stricter safe guards and penalties. The most disturbing changes are as follows:
- The Plan Commission version required the ‘Owner to provide the City with copies of testing records, and documentation required by the Environmental Protection Agency pertaining to fill materials. Such information shall be provided on a monthly basis. In addition, the Owner shall provide the City with an annual report documenting all material to the Property during the previous year along with confirmation of required testing’. The amended version states that the ‘Owner shall provide the City with reasonable access to all testing records and documentation pertaining to material deposited on the site’.
The Plan Commission version provided that the Owner ‘shall collect measurements to ground water elevation at designated sample locations and collect groundwater samples a minimum of one time a month. Groundwater samples shall be tested by an independent lab facility approved by the City. All measurements and lab testing results shall be submitted to the City monthly, no later than 30 days following the end of the month’. The amended version states that : ‘The Owner shall collect measurements to groundwater elevation at designated sample locations and collect groundwater samples in accordance with McHenry County standards, but no less than once per year’. McHenry County standards require testing only once per year. ‘Groundwater samples shall be tested by an independent lab facility approved by the County. All measurements and lab results shall be submitted to the City on later than 5 days following their receipt by the Owner’.
The Plan Commission version provided penalties and enforcement of violations of any provisions of the Special Use Ordinance and a time table to cure the violations. This was eliminated in the negotiated version. The Plan Commission also recommended further stringent parameters for submission of documentation, property inspection, dust control and spillage, truck coverage, maintenance of Lilly Pond Road, and barrier construction which were not included.
- Unless the Council members who voted for the negotiated version can assure their constituents that they are 100% certain that their action will guarantee compliance and the safety of our water supply and environment, I believe their action was short sited and irresponsible.