SUGAR GROVE – Heartland Recycling announced a modification to its proposed annexation agreement at the Sugar Grove Planning Commission meeting Nov. 29 by eliminating its request to crush concrete at the 48-acre lot at the corner of Harter Road and Sugar Grove Parkway.
Heartland Recycling Partner John Savage also addressed concerns related to noise, dirt on the roads and the condition of the proposed site.
"The site is heavily bermed with a tree line," Savage said. "The vast majority of activity won't be seen from the roadway. It's in a hole. This will keep the dust under control. I think it is a good situation with the property to alleviate those issues. There are spelled out conditions in the annexation agreement related to maintaining the tree line, hours of operation and dirt on the road. We are eliminating concrete crushing at the site."
Savage added Heartland Recycling will be accepting concrete at the proposed site even thought there will be no concrete crushing, and he also announced Heartland Recycling won’t be accepting asphalt due to concerns brought up by residents during the public hearing.
Thomas Volini, an environmental consultant for Heartland Recycling, argued that there are good reasons to have a clean construction or demolition debris site at the proposed location.
“This goes back to the issue that was raised with dust and noise and centralized location of a CCDD site," Volini said. "The reality is generating soils in your community are already creating dust and noise and traffic. There is more argument to be made that not putting up this facility at a site like this can generate more emissions."
Of the more than 70 community members in attendance, several spoke about their concerns regarding air pollution and the health risks associated with increased air pollution. It was mentioned there are increased risk factors for children and senior citizens.
Dr. Sakina Bajowala, MD, a board-certified allergist and immunologist and director of the Kaneland Allergy and Asthma Center, was in attendance to speak about particulate air pollution.
“I have the experience of practicing in multiple locations, including the inner city of Chicago where I saw a significant increase in pediatric asthma aspirations, steroid use, oxygen supplementation, hospitalization and intubation that were directly associated with particulate air pollution,” Bajowala said. “We have plenty of children in this area. We are also starting to have a larger influx of the elderly in our community, especially with building more senior facilities.”
Bajowala also addressed her concerns over increased traffic.
"Particulate air pollution is not limited to the vast amounts of concrete dust we saw from trucks unloading," Bajowala said. "It is also from the diesel trucks going back and forth and back and forth all day long every day for 10 years. What we know is that there are significant increases in morbidity and mortality with even low levels of increase in particulate air pollution and this affects all ages.”
Sugar Grove resident Aaron Leuer spoke about his worries over sending his child to Kaneland Harter Middle School, which is across the street from the proposed site.
“Concrete crushing creates dust," Leuer said. “What will inundate this area is the truck traffic, especially when it’s not wet. I have one child who suffers from asthmatic aspirations who will be in the Harter Middle School in two years. I can’t even believe the [village] is considering this. This is absurd.”
The public hearing lasted two hours. Toward the end of the public hearing, attorney Michael Coghlan asked for a continuation of the public hearing in order to review staff reports submitted before the meeting.
“ … I haven’t even had time to read it,” Coghlan said. “I’m sure the other citizens have not [read] the report from staff. So what is happening is you're getting information, and the school board is getting information outside of the public hearing process, and consequently, we don’t know what to respond to. My assumption, being an attorney for developers, is that there is a lot of money being dangled in front of the school, which is why the school board should be here objecting. Don’t contaminate the air for our school children. They should be here."
Coghlan handed out 20 copies of an article from the Chicago Tribune to the Planning Commission about how four-in-five quarries in Illinois exceed the acceptable limit of toxin levels.
“You now have the burden of some of the knowledge, if you go with this extremely reckless staff recommendation,” Coghlan said. “We will give you more of the knowledge as we have our fair start. We will need to resume this hearing as this recent release of yet another report.”
The Planning Commission agreed to continue the public hearing to 7 p.m. Jan. 10. The location has not been determined as of the last public hearing.