Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Cary Pit--March 29, 2017

There was an unusual amount of noise coming from this pit this morning. So I decided to use the drone to take a look.

After getting clearance from the Lake in the Hills Airport, I brought the drone 150 feet over the Fox Trails subdivision and took a look. They are moving dirt near the berm. But, at this altitude, you can get a nice glimpse of what lies next door to Fox Trails.





Monday, March 20, 2017

"Positively" Cary? What does that even mean?

When I first saw the signs popping up all over town with Dudek’s name on them declaring to be “Positively Cary,” I laughed out loud. Positively Cary?  What does that actually mean?

Grammatically speaking, “positively” used in this way means true. Like this is “definitely” Cary.  (I know what they are actually trying to say here, but hey, I’m a word nerd).

And anything that Duane “Rick” Dudek is associated with is “positively” not what I want to see in Cary.

Of course I am speaking from the experience of the Meyer Material issue that has been plaguing Fox Trails now for nearly 10 years—longer if you count the original Algonquin operation, actually.  Dudek is the only trustee who has been here from the time Meyer was granted a conditional use permit in 2008.

In fact, Dudek voted “positively” for Meyer back in 2008.

Although, apparently, he sometimes forgets that.

Case in point:  During the September 6, 2016 meeting, Dudek had the audacity to suggest that it was the fault of the Fox Trails residents to have moved into the neighborhood in the first place. “They sold over 130 homes,” he said, “even though there was something going on in their backyard….I think that’s pretty important to recognize.” This is coming from someone who was there in 2008 and voted “yes” for the conditional use permit for Meyer. He knew then (and apparently had forgotten by 2016) that the land adjacent to the north section of Fox Trails was zoned residential and there was a “no mining clause” on that parcel of land.

It was Jeff Kraus who pointed out that residents who bought houses knew the land had been zoned differently.  “The land wasn’t zoned mining,” Kraus stated. “So those homeowners up there bought it thinking it was agriculture behind them, not mining.”

And how did Dudek respond? Remember, he was there in 2008 and he voted to grant Meyer a conditional use permit to change the zoning. He turned to Kraus and asked, “How do we know that, Jeff?”

Was he being “positively” forgetful that he voted to change the zoning on that land? He must have forgotten because in 2016 he "positively" said in an interview "it was a crappy agreement." A "crappy agreement" that he "positively" voted for.

Not only that, over the course of his tenure as Trustee, he has made some “positively” puzzling comments regarding Meyer Material and the Fox Trails neighborhood.

During a Village Board meeting in July of 2015, for example, Dudek stated publicly that “There has not been one complaint” about the gravel pit. He must not have ever read this blog or heard the dozens of residents who had been coming to meetings or writing the Board to complain about the gravel pit. One resident at the time said at a meeting that it was “like the Indy 500 in my back yard.” Yep, Dudek “positively” didn’t hear that one.

The fact is that it was “positively” Dudek who started the ball rolling on getting Meyer a waiver to resubmit a plan to the Village before the mandated one-year “cooling off” period. He read a prepared statement in June of 2016 wanting Meyer to be reconsidered.

I guess he was “positively” sure Meyer hadn’t been treated fairly in the proceeding meetings and needed another chance. In fact, he "positively" referred to Meyer as a "corporate citizen" who needed to be "extended the courtesy" of a new hearing.  

So now Dudek is running on a platform that suggests he has been a "positive" influence in Cary. Ask Fox Trails residents and they will tell you a different story.

I have seen resident concerns "positively" dismissed.

I have seen the democratic process "positively" shirked in favor of the desires of a corporation.

I have seen Fox Trails residents "positively" demeaned and lectured to.

I have seen a corporation that is part of a multinational conglomerate "positively" treated better than the tax payers.

Of one thing I am positive: I will “positively” not be voting for that slate of candidates on April 4. “Positively Cary” means “Positively Dudek.”

No thanks.  I’ve seen how that has worked out for the last 10 years.



Saturday, March 18, 2017

A little about Mark Kownick and "Integrity"

The elections in Cary are right around the corner.

And all over the village are signs for Mark Kownick that ironically proclaim him to be the candidate of integrity. On his website, he "fact checks" the whole Meyer Material issue and, as usual dismisses and undermines the actual facts in regard to Meyer Material.

On that page, he takes credit for the mining agreement and paints it with such positivity that anyone who has attended the meetings within the last year would find laughable.

Here is what Mark Kownick doesn't say on that page:

  • When Meyer approached the Zoning Board with a request for an extension, the Zoning Board voted it down in February of 2016
  • As a result, Mark Kownick demoted the Chairman of the Zoning Board, Joe Tournier, and didn't inform the other trustees of this action
  • When the Meyer Material petition went to the Village Board in May of last year, it was voted down
  • The Mayor and several other Village Trustees (Dudek and Chapman, in particular) then worked to give Meyer a waiver to re-present a plan to the Village despite the mandatory one-year waiting period. That waiver was granted in October of 2016 with the Kownick making the tie-breaking vote to allow the waiver
  • The ZPA meeting for the new Meyer petition was scheduled before that waiver was granted
  • The new agreement says that the $1.5 million in the land conservancy fund that Meyer was required to fund no longer needs to be used by the Village for the land after Meyer stops mining 

During this whole process, the Mayor was instrumental in subverting the democratic process. He so wanted Meyer to continue mining that he worked to get that waiver in place and get a Village Board vote as quickly as possible before this Village election.

During this whole process, every meeting involving Meyer Material was highlighted in the Cary News blast.

Except one.

That's right: this mayor who boasts of "integrity" oversaw an administration that did not, for the first time, publicly announce the meeting for the Meyer vote in its weekly news blast.  As a result,  few people came to denounce the plan. In fact, more Meyer employees were there to talk about how great Meyer Material is.

And, as usual, the Mayor voted for Meyer and now takes credit for it on his website.

So much for integrity.


  

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Here we go again....

The Village Board meeting on October 4, 2016, went about as well as you can imagine.

After a lengthy discussion and vote regarding Sage Parkway, Meyer presented their new plan to the Village.

Or, as I should say, their plans.  Yes, Meyer presented three very convoluted plans to the Village Board. It was understood that the Village Board was to vote on one of those plans. But that did not happen.

Meyer presented plans A, B and C. However, in the course of the discussion, Meyer explained that they want plan A, which involves the use of a dredger and either plan B or C, which involves the hours of use.

It was convoluted and confusing. The Village Board was unsure exactly what they were voting for. But for three Trustees and the Mayor, that didn't matter at all. They want to get Meyer back in before the next Village Board election, that is very clear.

Meyer assured the Village Board that this new plan would be quieter. Meyer spokesperson Randi Willie even took some sound samples from a quarry in Wisconsin using some sort of sound-capturing device. However, having worked extensively with microphones and video (I have a video production business), it seemed very clear to me that the equipment was not used correctly nor was there any indication of where the microphone was placed or what type of microphone was attached to the device in the first place.  I can tell you this, I will not trust any sound measuring done by a Meyer employee sitting in a boat holding a device in his hand.

Nonetheless, many residents spoke out against granting Meyer a waiver.  As I mentioned in my comments, Meyer seemed to be just throwing plans at the board hoping to have one stick and this is the reason why we have a "cooling off" period to begin with. I also spoke about the fact that many Fox Trails residents received a notice in the mail from the Village and Meyer announcing the ZPA hearing Meyer's petition on October 13. I stated that this "looks bad" because a meeting has been scheduled for something that has not even been voted on as of yet. Even though the letter was signed by the village of Cary, many Trustees did not know of this letter.

Others spoke about their objection to the dredger; a few people spoke about how Fox Trails residents at an earlier meeting were blamed for living in Fox Trails in the first place.

It was deja vu, really. Many of the same arguments were being made over and over again back in 2008.

The most objectionable part of the meeting came when Trustee Chapman decided to arrogantly and condescendingly chastise Fox Trails residents for speaking out at the meeting.

"I don't know what you want," he stated, even though several residents stood up and said not to grant Meyer the waiver. But he went on and on. He even claimed to have gone door to door in Fox Trails.

He didn't come to my door, that's for sure. He didn't come to the door of my neighbors. So, I am not exactly sure who in Fox Trails he spoke to or when he actually went "door to door."

He went on to praise Meyer and then to say this:

"If you guys have problems with the dust and stuff--absolutely, there's a gravel pit back there. And I get it."

It was almost as if he was telling us to just deal with it.  Let me say this, I am glad that there is a Village Board election coming up in April. (To hear Chapman's comment, click here)

So the vote came and as usual it was Trustees Cossler, Covelli and Kraus who really seemed to listen to the concerns of the residents, who didn't seem to like the fact that Meyer was being given another chance. They voted no.

Trustees Chapman, Dudek and McAlpine voted yes. The tie breaking vote came from Mayor Kownick.

So on October 13, Meyer will present their petition to the ZPA. And then it will be back to the Village Board sometime quickly after that.

After we know what exactly Meyer will be presenting, we will be putting together a protest petition to this new ordinance.  We have to wait, however, until after the Zoning Board meeting. Several of us will then walk the neighborhood, gather signatures.

More to come.







Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Setting Dudek Straight

Duane (Rick) Dudek
At the September 6 board meeting, the Trustees discussed the Meyer plan of adding dredging equipment to the pit and changing the mining hours. Being that most of the board was not around in 2007 and 2008, there were naturally some questions about the history of the subdivision and Meyer's operations next to Fox Trails.

And then Rick Dudek made the following asinine and ignorant comment:
I only want to make one observation. They sold over 130 homes even though there was something going on in their backyard. So let's not make light of the fact that there's no surprise here. People bought those homes--people were buying homes--whatever it was--whether it was 1990 or 1995, they sold out an entire community with an unknown product going on in their backyard. I think that's pretty important to recognize.  (Click here to to hear the comments)
Wow. I can understand how the majority of Trustees are not well-versed in the history of Meyer and the Fox Trails subdivision. However, Dudek was there back in 2008 and voted in favor of Meyer being granted a conditional use permit.

Let's not forget, we are now going into the third round of this monstrosity next to Fox Trails. Indeed, there are residents who have put up with it much longer than most of us.  Initially, the pit was located just in Algonquin and effected half of Fox Trails. 

When we bought our home 2002, the land next to our street was not owned by Meyer. It was land in the Village of Cary that was zoned RESIDENTIAL, even though at the time it was being farmed. The land belonged to the Chally Farm and there was a "No Mining" clause on that parcel of land.  We were assured that there would never be mining on that land; that the mining would be isolated to just around Klasen Road. And accordingly, that mining was just about done. For the folks living in South Fox Trails, it seemed to them that the mining would soon be over.

But that was not to be.

Meyer bought the Chally land and petitioned the Village of Cary for a conditional use permit to expand their mining operations into Cary and along the northern section of Fox Trails. That mining was supposed to end in 2016. Meyer asked for a time extension this year and was denied.

And now they want to add dredgers.

For Dudek to blame the residents of Fox Trails for moving into the subdivision shows not only a lack of respect for Fox Trails residents but a complete lack of understanding of the situation. And that's from someone who went through the whole process back in 2008.  He should know better. 

Perhaps he does know better and this was just a deceitful attempt to sway the other trustees into allowing Meyer a waiver to resubmit a new plan. Regardless, the comment is unacceptable from an elected official.

Shame on you, Dudek. You are one of the reasons why many residents do not trust the Village of Cary.

And your comment says more about you than it does about us here in the Fox Trails Subdivision.

And a special thanks to Jeff Kraus who acknowledged that the land in question was, in fact, Cary land that was not zoned for mining. Kraus, who was not a Trustee back in 2008, had this to say in response:

"The homeowners that bought up in the north end of Fox Trails bought with the assumption that Cary owned the property to the west and then along Route [31] which was probably zoned agriculture. That land wasn't zoned mining. So those homeowners up there bought it thinking it was agriculture behind them, not mining."

Then Dudek says, "How do we know that, Jeff?"

What?!  Dudek was there in 2008 and voted to change the zoning on that land from residential to mining! If there is anyone on that board who knows the history of that parcel of land, it should be Dudek.  

Kraus set the record straight and acknowledged that the residents of Fox Trails have "a legitimate beef with the Village for changing that to mining."

If the Village wants to sell this new plan to the residents of Fox Trails, they have to do a better job in acknowledging the the history and the issues we have been subjected to over the years. 

Dudek sold us out in 2008 and he wants to do it again in 2016.

Let the Village Board know of the history. Send your comments to Villagehall@caryillinois.com.

If you want to personally address Dudek's statement, you can email him at rdudek@caryillinois.com




Hydraulic Dredging, 24/6

Meyer lost. They lost at the Zoning Board and they lost at the Village Board level.

However, the powers that be want them to have another chance. Although, due to Village rules, they cannot submit another plan until a year long "cooling off" period. Nonetheless, Meyer presented an informational meeting to Village residents about a new plan.

In order to get this plan in action, the Village of Cary will have to give Meyer a waiver. The plan will then go to the new Zoning Board and then back to the Village Board.

What Meyer wants to do is bring in some dredging equipment and turn the pit into a 24 hour a day, 6 days a week operation. They claim it will be quieter than what they are doing now.

At the meeting, Meyer presented the following video, showing how a hydraulic dredger works:


The video has no sound, so we can't hear the dredger in action. Although Meyer insisted that that this method would be less noisy than what they have now, they couldn't get more specific than that.

However, here is another video of a hydraulic dredger. This is what Meyer wants to be operating next to Fox Trails 24 hours a day, 6 days a week. This setup, I am sure, is not what Meyer will do, but the plans presented were not too specific and this is all we have to go on:


And another:


And another:


I think Meyer will have to provide evidence to the Village of the exact setup that they will use so the Village can be assured that at 2 am the sound is not excessive.  

Sounds from the Pit

Recently, Meyer gave residents a tour of their gravel pit operations when they were looking for a time extension for mining. While on that tour, Meyer officials touted how they were using sound mitigation techniques in order to minimize the noise in the Fox Trail Subdivision. Among the things that they discussed was a way to damper the back-up beeping sound from trucks and equipment. In fact, we were told that if we heard back-up beeping sounds it wasn't coming from the pit.

Oh, really. Well, there's a lot of sound coming directly from the pit, including back-up beeping noises. So they must not be using the very equipment they claimed a few months ago.

Current;y, the sound coming from the pit is loud. Very loud. The beeping noise can be heard in houses even with windows closed.

I recorded a couple of minutes of what is sounds like in my front yard.



Last week, Meyer gave a presentation about their plans to use dredging equipment for 24 hours a day, six days a week.  At that presentation, they could not say how loud it would be.

Considering the fact that they can't damper beeping noises, my faith in Meyer Material being able to keep a dredger quiet in the middle of the night is very much in doubt.

If you do not like what you are hearing, please let the Village of Cary know. Email them at Villagehall@caryillinois.com.