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.