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

If you want to personally address Dudek's statement, you can email him at

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

Friday, July 15, 2016

Pit Sounds

No, it's not a new Beach Boys album.

It is the sound outside our bedroom window.

Over the last few days, the noise from the pit has been louder than normal. This is to be expected, due to the fact that they are moving closer to the subdivision. Right now, I suspect, they are removing overburden from the cells closest to the subdivision. And it is loud.

I recorded the following audio using a voice recorder app on my cellphone. It was placed in my bedroom window, approximately 1200 feet from the pit. This is pretty typical for the sound coming from the pit, especially in the last few days.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Democracy? What Democracy? Get Ready for a Meyer Waiver

UPDATE: On the Facebook "Cary Connection" Page, it was stated that the Meyer waiver vote is "not expected" to be on the agenda for July 5th. The agenda will be published sometime in the afternoon of July 1.

UPDATE 2: A vote on Meyer Material is not on the agenda for July 5. Meyer can still be discussed in the Administrator's report.

Trustees at the last two Village of Cary board meetings had lively discussions about the fate of Meyer Material.  Those who voted yes to the extension want to give Meyer another opportunity to present their plan to the Zoning Board. They cite "new evidence" as a justification to waive the required one year "cooling off" period.

They even presented what a new proposal "might" look like at the last Village Board meeting. Keep in mind, this proposal was not written by Meyer, but by the Village:

In order for Meyer to be able to submit another proposal to the Zoning Board this summer, the village would have to waive the 1 year requirement.  As Trustee Kraus so plainly stated at the June 21 meeting, "We've already voted." Why would they want to do this?

Simple:  They want a "yes" recommendation from the Zoning board so that the mayor can vote at the Village level. That way they can overcome the three "no" votes.

Two Village Board meetings ago, Trustee Dudek lamented the fact that the Meyer proposal they voted on was not the same as what was presented at the Zoning Board in February. Given that, he argued, Meyer should be allowed to present that plan back to the Zoning Board. He and the Mayor expressed a belief that Meyer--"a good corporate citizen," they added--was not being treated fairly.

This is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to circumvent the system and get another vote. I am sorry, Trustee Dudek and Mayor Kownick--the system worked just as it was intended:

1) Meyer presented a plan to the Zoning Board in February
2) The Zoning Board gave a "no" recommendation
3) Meyer adjusted their proposal for the Village Board meeting of May 17
4) That proposal was defeated 3-3. The Mayor was prohibited from voting in this instance due to the negative recommendation from the Zoning board.

Done and done.  Or so we thought.

Now we have a new Zoning Board. Shortly after that vote in February, Zoning Board Chairman Joe Tournier was basically fired by the Mayor.

Now, with a new Zoning Board, the mayor wants to start the whole process over so he can vote and reverse the outcome. In other words: DEMOCRACY BE DAMNED!

The fact of the matter is this: Meyer screwed up. They went into the meeting in May thinking they were going to sail through. They didn't present a plan that gave enough back to the Village and they lost. End of story. They can present a proposal again. But they have to wait a year just like everybody else.

But that's not enough for Mayor Kownick, Trustee Dudek and the other two trustees who voted yes. They didn't get what they wanted so they want to re-do the vote.

Nice. And this is why people do not trust government.

Although the agenda for the next meeting has not been released, I suspect that the Meyer waiver vote will come at the July 5th meeting. As has been done now a few times, important votes have been scheduled for this meeting after the July 4th holiday--A day where they will get less attendance.

Its been done before and so the pattern continues.

More to come.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Just when you thought it was all over....

Last month, the Village of Cary denied the extension of mining to Meyer Material in a vote 3-3. The mayor was not allowed to vote and, because the Zoning Board did not recommend the extension, the vote needed to be a super majority. A special thanks to trustees Covelli, Krause and Cosler who voted "no" because they listened to the residents of Fox Trails.  That was not an easy vote for them and they need to be commended.

However, it is not over. This week, Meyer was brought up again by Trustee Dudek who read a statement in which he expressed a belief that Meyer should be allowed to resubmit their proposal to the Zoning Board. His reasoning: the proposal that the board voted on was not the same as the one presented to the Board. However, according to the rules, Meyer cannot reapply for a year, in what is called a "cooling off period."  Dudek suggested that the board waive that requirement.

Trustee Cosler rightly called such action as a "backdoor method of getting it reheard."  The mayor was obviously upset by the vote last month and wants to have the matter reconsidered. He said it was not fair to treat Meyer in such a way. I guess in his mind it is fair to treat the residents this way, but that's beside the point.

Here's what is going to happen:

1) Meyer is going to continue mining through November. They have made their first $100,000 fine payment.
2) Meyer has been in conversations with Village Administrator Clark
3) The Village will put on an agenda to vote to waive the time period in which Meyer can resubmit a proposal.

Stay tuned for that. It will probably come at the traditional low-turnout board meeting on July 5.

See the video below. The Meyer portion starts at 57:44.

Looks like we are going to go through this whole thing again.

Does Meyer have the right to resubmit a plan? Absolutely. But the rules state that they need to wait a year.

Dudek and the Mayor seem to believe that the proposal that they voted on needed to be the same as the proposal offered to the Zoning Board. That is simply not true.

The system worked. The Zoning Board did not recommend the extension. And, as is the reason for a zoning board hearing, Meyer revised their plan for the Village Board vote.  The Village Board voted no.


But apparently the democratic process is inconvenient to certain members of the Village Board and this is likely to start up all over again.

Stay tuned. The drama continues.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Information regarding the Meyer Extension Vote Tonight

The Village has placed a lot of information on their website.  Here is a breakdown of the mining schedule if approved:

If approved, the mining, which was to stop on June 1, 2016, will continue until June 1, 2019. Three years. 

Here's the thing: according to the current contract, Meyer would have to pay $100,000 a month for every month they go beyond the June 1, 2016 date.  This comes to about $600,000 a year.

Here is the updated ordinance that will be voted on tonight.

The entire packet, including Zoning Board minutes and resident emails can be read here. Beware, it is long:

Monday, May 16, 2016

This is it...The Meyer Vote Comes on Tuesday

After a couple of postponements, it appears that the Board is now ready to vote on the Meyer extension. And all signs point to a "yes" vote. But only we can prevent that from happening.

It appears, as usual, Meyer has sweetened the deal. Somewhat. They've sweetened it at least enough to make this new board feel inclined to vote yes.  And, at the last couple of meetings, a very nice "plan" was presented on what the Village would like to do with the land. A plan that cost some $16,000 to put together, by the way, with no real proposals on how it would get done.

According to the new deal, Meyer is now going to pay for some improvements to the Fox Trails subdivision (as one person on Facebook remarked: Maybe now we can get an 'S' for our sign) totalling some $50,000. This sounds good to the board, but one has to remember that Meyer will have to pay fines if they go beyond the June 1, 2016 date. So one month of fines is more than double what they have offered. Doesn't sound like a great deal to me.

Here are some other points:

1) The Zoning Board gave a resounding "no" to the extension deal back in February

2) The homeowners of Fox Trails were assured by a previous board back in 2008 that the penalties in the contract would make it so Meyer wouldn't come back and ask for an extension.  And here we are. This board is increasing the fines, but who is to say the same thing won't happen in three years?

3) If Meyer stops mining as they should on June 1, we still get a lake. Meyer still needs to restore the land. The lake will be a little smaller, but so what.

4) The area that still needs to be mined is right next to the Fox Trails subdivision. Happy summer everyone!

5) Half of the proposed recreation area is in the Village of Algonquin. I'm not sure if this has been worked out as of yet.

I think most of us are just tired of this mess. We want it done. We are tired of the dust and the noise. It's time to say goodbye to Meyer Material Company.

Please come to the meeting on Tuesday. The more people who show up the harder it will be for them to vote yes on the extension. If you can't make the meeting, please send a message to the board at

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Meyer Discussion on April 19.....Vote on May 3

At the Committee of the Whole meeting on April 19, the board will be discussing options for the Meyer pit. At the last meeting, the board presented a drawing of "Option B" in regard to creating a huge recreation area out of the pit. What Option A was, they did not say. The Village spent $16,000 for these nice drawings.

So another meeting will commence to discuss what to do with the pit.The biggest issue: Half of the pit is in Algonquin. The Village of Algonquin is considering ceding that land to Cary in exchange for some revenue sharing. We'll see.

Mark your calendars for May 3. That is when the final vote will be taken.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Next Meyer Meeting is....(drumroll) TOMORROW!

Yep. You read that right. The next time the Village Board discusses the Meyer Petition is TOMORROW night, April 5 at 6 pm.

The Village does not want you to go to this meeting, apparently.

I downloaded the Committee of the Whole Agenda from the Cary website and examined the metadata. The pdf was created on Friday.  I'm not sure when it was posted.

But then again, there was no indication that this was going to be discussed. There is nothing on the Village website, except for the agenda, which has to be downloaded in order to be viewed.

The current Cary Connection newsletter with the information about the meeting is dated April 4--the day before the meeting. Today. Thanks for the notice, Cary!

For those of us who have been around for a while, this is very typical when it comes to meetings involving Meyer Material.

So we need to go to this meeting. We need to say the same things we said at the other village board meeting.

The Committee of the Whole meeting is at 6pm on Tuesday, April 5. Then, the mayor will update the Village Board at the meeting at 7:30. The final vote will be taken on April 19.

Hope to see you at the meeting tomorrow!

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Village Meyer Hearing (Plus, an apology on my part)

What a way to spend St. Patrick's Day, eh? Listening to Meyer again try to explain why they need more time to mine in the area next to the Fox Trails Subdivision and not pay the penalties.

It was basically the same story they gave at the Zoning Board Meeting: Bad economy, too much overburden, not enough time.

The fact is they don't want to pay the fines that they agreed to back in 2008.  So now, they want to extend the time, pay the regular impact fees and be done by 2020.

Again, many residents stood up and expressed their concerns about the proposal. It was clear that people do not care if the lake is smaller--they just want this whole thing finished.  It was clear that they thought Meyer should be held to the original contract. After all, that's what contracts are for, right?

That is what I spoke about: Meyer signed a contract, they should stick to it. I also talked about how we all knew back in 2007 and 2008 that this would happen. In fact, the first time Meyer tried for an extension was back in 2011. They were denied then at the Zoning Board and decided not to pursue it further at the Village level.

The point I made then was that Meyer really hasn't done anything to fix the problem: no new equipment or employees. It seemed businesses as usual for the last few years. I believe, and I stated this at the meeting, that they have been banking from the beginning to get an extension.

I also made a comment that Mr. Thomas Zanck, Meyer's attorney, did not like. I said that Meyer has known about the overburden for quite some time. Later, when I was addressed by a Village Board member, I repeated the claim and said that they knew about the overburden back at the beginning. I may have even stated the year as 2008, I am not sure.

When it was Mr. Zanck's turn, he replied "we take issue with Mr. Janu." He then said that they didn't know about the overburden until 2014.

I said what I said based on what was stated at the Zoning Board meeting back in February.

I probably misspoke, and for that I apologize. I really thought they had stated that they knew about the overburden early. It was in my notes from the Zoning Board meeting.

So, I went to the transcript from that meeting and Mr. Zanck did say something that led me to believe that the overburden was known from the beginning.

Zoning Board Commissioner Patrick Jasper stated, "I understand that there are surprises that occur along the way."

Mr. Zanck then replied, "About a month after we agreed to it, you bet."

I made an assumption that he was talking about the overburden. Obviously, I was wrong and I apologize for making claim.

However, his statement that they didn't know about the overburden until 2014 is not correct as well. According to Mr. Randi Willie they began to run into issues when they started mining the north part of the pit.

He stated at the February Zoning board meeting, "As we went further north in 2013, we found it to get actually worse." Then, in 2014, they decided to drill some bores in order to see just how much overburden was there. And there was a lot, apparently.

Meyer screwed up. In fact, Mr. Zanck said as much at the Zoning Board meeting back in February: "It's the consequences of the economy and the overburden that we were not aware of. And shame on us...We know there was a miscalculation."

But this doesn't change the essence of the issue. And that issue is that Meyer signed a contract and needs to be held accountable. Should we be held accountable for Meyer's "miscalculations" and mistakes?

As I stated at the meeting, "We need to hold them to the deal. If they want to continue mining, fine. Pay up. If not, stop mining and restore the land and give us the lake on schedule."

Unfortunately, this meeting was not as well attended as the Zoning Board meeting. And that is because it was St. Patrick's Day, I am sure. We have had a history of having meeting around holidays, haven't we?

The next meeting will be held at the Village Hall sometime in the future. It holds about 150 people. This could be good---let's fill that place!

More to come.

In the meantime, if you weren't at the meeting, please let the board know of your feelings by sending an email to

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Next Meyer Meeting: St. Patrick's Day!

It may be St. Patrick's Day, but it is also the day that Meyer goes in front of the Cary Village Board to plead their case one more time.

Let's recap:

1. Meyer stood up in front of the Zoning Board on February 11 and said they wanted to get an extension for their mining operation in order to "make the lake as large as possible."
2. Cary residents didn't buy it and called Meyer out on their misleading motivations
3. Meyer did not offer anything new
4. The Zoning Board gave a resounding NO recommendation for the extension

Don't get me wrong: that NO vote was important. But, in the end, it does not matter much. The Village Board can decide the opposite, as the Zoning Board is just a recommendation.

And we already know that the Village sees Meyer's financial contribution as "substantial." Therefore, this time around, it is going to be harder.  The Village Board, as you know, has had a very cozy relationship with Meyer Material. They all loved the tour from last summer. They would like to see Meyer continue to pay its impact fees.

But Meyer signed an agreement and they should stick to it.

Which is why we need to be at the meeting in larger numbers than before. We need to tell the board with as much passion as we did on February 11 that Meyer extension is not welcome. That if they want to continue mining they need to stick to the original agreement--that means Meyer should pay those fines, or turn over the land on schedule.

The meeting is on THURSDAY, MARCH 17 at 7:30 at the Holiday Inn in Crystal Lake. Hope to see you all there.

If you cannot make the meeting, please email the board your concerns. You can email them at

Whether or not they make a decision at that meeting is unclear. That decision may be made at a different meeting, which only draws things out more--but we need to remain diligent.

Hope to see everyone there!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Next Round--St. Patrick's Day

Last month, I was so proud of how my neighbors calmly, eloquently and with measured doses of anger and passion explained why Meyer should not be given a free pass when it comes to the mining extension they want the village to approve. Meyer, of course, offered nothing to residents, except the pity-party they were hoping would change minds.

It didn't. In fact, the Zoning Board gave a resounding "No" to the mining extension.

However, as we know, that "no" was just a recommendation. And Meyer is coming back, this time in front of the entire board.

This is going to be a bit harder for us in this round. Even with a "no" recommendation from the Zoning Board, the Village Board can still vote "yes." They can change the deal. They can force Meyer to pay the fines. Everything is up in the air.

But here is the reality: the Village Board has relied on Meyer's fees as part of the budget for years. Last year, Trustee Chapman admitted at a Village Board meeting that Meyer's fees were a "significant" part of the budget.

As they say, money talks.

But we can be loud. We can be passionate. If the Village Board sees that in us, then the outcome is anything but decided.

The meeting will be held once again at the Holiday Inn on Thursday, March 17 at 7:30.  Yes, it is St. Patrick's Day. No, it is not a good time.  But that is the hand we were dealt, and that is what we must play.

Please mark your calendars.

Let's show the Village Board the same amount of passion that was unleashed last month.

Let's not make it easy for them.  Let's make it clear that Meyer should pay fines if they want to continue mining. Let's make it clear that we are perfectly fine with a smaller lake, if Meyer decides to end the mining this year.

If anything, let's make it clear to the board that we will not let a corporation have its way with residents who knew, back in 2008, that this was going to happen.

Let's make it clear that we, as a community, are not going to sit back and just let Meyer steamroll the board without hearing from us first.

Hope to see you all next week.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Meyer Zoning Board Meeting, Thursday February 11

Thursday night is the night Meyer Material Company will stand in front of the Zoning Board to make their case for a time extension to thoroughly clear the pit of any remaining gravel. Although mining operations were to stop this year, Meyer wants the mining to continue for two years, with one year for "restoration" of the land.

The meeting is being held in at the Holiday Inn in Crystal Lake at 7:30 (February 11, 2016). This is the best opportunity to let the Zoning Board publicly know of your feelings in regard to this matter. The Zoning Board will make a "yes" or "no" recommendation that evening, so your voice is essential.

Here are some key points to consider:

  • If Meyer does not get the extension, Cary still gets a lake, an asphalt path around that lake and a small parking lot with access via Klasen Road. The lake will be only slightly smaller than the original plan.
  • Many people assume that this land will be like the Three Oaks facility in Crystal Lake. It will not.
  • Meyer will continue paying the Village impact fees, but they have not offered anything to the residents of Fox Trails.
  • Meyer signed the original deal in 2008 and agreed to hefty monthly penalties if they did not finish mining by 2016.  Meyer does not want to pay these fees, so they simply want to extend the time frame. Should Meyer not pay penalties for breaking the contract? If you or I were to break a contract or not meet a deadline, there would be consequences we would not be able to brush away with a two-year time extension.
  • Also, let us not forget that Meyer Material is owned by Aggregate Industries, which is owned by the large Swiss-based multinational Holcim, ltd. They make over $15 billion a year.
The fact is this: the Village likes having Meyer. As was stated at a previous Village Board meeting last summer, Meyer's impact fees make a "significant" part of the Village budget. What has the village been doing with this money? 

If Meyer were to get this extension, we should ask for something in return; something that would particularly benefit the residents of Fox Trails. Now Meyer did pay some of the residents through a homeowner's assistance program. Should that be reinstated?

Think about it.

Let the Zoning Board know. 

Your comments at the Zoning Board will go into the public record and will be available for the Village Board when they make their decision, which will most likely be in March or April.

The meeting begins at 7:30.

Hope to see you there.

Friday, January 1, 2016

What about that Lake?

In the recent letter sent to Fox Trails residents, Meyer claimed that they wanted an extension in their mining operations in order to "expand the lake as much as possible."  That misleading statement is meant to convey the idea that the purpose of the gravel pit is to make us a nice lake. This is a gravel pit first and foremost.  Meyer is in the aggregate business and is owned by Holcim, Ltd. headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. The annual profits of this conglomerate average around $15 billion or so.

Due to various reasons, Meyer will not be able to finish mining gravel by the June 2016 deadline. In order to avoid paying the agreed-upon penalties of $100,000 a month, Meyer wants to extend the contract through 2020, with mining continuing until June 1, 2019 and restoration finished by June 1, 2020.

The picture below is the most recent Google Earth image of the gravel pit, taken in June, 2015. Rollover the image with your mouse to see some details about the gravel pit and the areas still left to mine. The area that still needs to mined is directly adjacent to the Fox Trails subdivision.

But what about that lake?

Originally, Meyer stated that the finished lake would be about 94 acres. But, due to the problems they have had with overburden, the new estimated size will be around 89-90 acres.

If they do not get the extension, Cary still gets a finished lake, but it will be around an estimated 76 acres or so with more land around the lake.

Roll your mouse over the image below to see the roughly estimated sizes of the shoreline.

What does Cary get out of this when all is said and done?

When the mining operations are finished, Meyer will present Cary with a lake. There will be a multipurpose path around the lake and a small parking lot located off of Klasen Road in the village of Algonquin.

The banks of the lake will be seeded, like they have already started doing in 2015. Below is an image of the western portion of the lake and the bank that was seeded early last year.

This is more of what the banks will look like when completed. This is a view of the south eastern portion of the lake that was one of the first areas to be finished a couple of decades ago.

A multi-use path will be built around the lake, regardless of its final size with a small parking lot located in the south east portion of the property. This is the original proposal of what the lake and grading will look like, as presented by Meyer:

Many residents outside of Fox Trails believe that this is going to be a recreation area on par with the recently opened Three Oaks Recreation Area in neighboring Crystal Lake.  I hate to disappoint people, but this is not the case.

First of all, the village of Crystal Lake spent $14.37 million converting a portion of that former gravel pit into a recreation area. Although nothing has been decided as of yet, the Village of Cary and the Cary Park District will have to work out a plan. Anything beyond what Meyer deeds to the Village of Cary will be costly in terms of upgrades and maintenance. Plus, as half of the property is actually located in Algonquin, rights and access will need to be negotiated between the two government bodies.

Here is what we need to find out:  Meyer has paid the Village of Cary $250,000 a year in impact fees since the start of the mining operation for a total of $2.5 million (and an additional $2 million total to a Land Conservancy fund). What has Cary done with that money from impact fees?

During the July 7, 2015, board meeting, Trustee David Chapman admitted that the Meyer payment is a "significant portion of the Village's budget."  So where has that money gone?

Based on this alone, I am convinced the Village will grant the extension just in order to gather those impact fees for a few years more.  But what do we, the residents located next to the pit, get?

Four more years of dust and noise, to be sure.


The Zoning Board and Appeals meeting is set for Thursday, January 28.