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.