Galena Road Gravel annexation pulled from council agenda

Marianne Gillespie

Galena Road Gravel is looking to expand its borders, and some Hallock Township residents questioned the land acquisition at the Chillicothe City Council meeting Monday night.

The company also seeks to annex the property into Chillicothe’s city limits.

Originally, two parcels of land were discussed at the Chillicothe Plan Commission’s meeting March 4.

Parcel 1 is north of the railroad tracks that cross Blue Ridge Road. Parcel 2 is south of the railroad tracks and borders Truitt Avenue and includes about 60 acres.

Subdivision/annexation committee chairman Rich Underwood said that Parcel 1 is now taken out of the annexation agreement.

Most of the concerns voiced previously by area residents, including those of Fawn Hills and Blue Ridge, concerned that parcel, Underwood said. The jurisdiction and maintenance of Ratliff Road also was questioned.

He attempted to explain some of the misconceptions he heard.

“Somebody at the last meeting said, ‘If we don’t annex, Galena Road Gravel is not going to buy the property,’” said Underwood.

He said that was not true, and the truth, in fact, was the opposite. “If they don’t buy, we’re not going to annex.”

He answered questions from Becky Ford about the berm and buffering of the extension of the gravel pit.

Additionally, Underwood noted that the company must comply with the city’s noise ordinance.

“If he’s in the county and making noise, we have no control,” said Underwood. “That’s one reason we want to annex. We have control.”

Kim Wilkins asked if part of the aquifer is in Parcel 2. Underwood said, from what he could see, it is not. She asked if an expert should verify that.

She also asked for a guarantee that the aquifer will not be contaminated and said the city should have something written into its agreement to protect the water supply.

“... McGrath, Martin-Marietta and Rich Lucas/Galena have been mining directly over the aquifer for the last 100 years,” said Underwood. “Now they’re moving away from the aquifer by going farther west.”

Other questions were raised about if Hallock Township would lose property tax money

if that area was annexed to the city.

The Chillicothe Plan Commission voted to not approve the original annexation request.

Underwood added, though, commission members said if the agreement included only Parcel 2, then it would most likely be approved by the commission.

The city’s comprehensive plan includes the company’s expansion, Underwood added.

City Clerk Sharon Crabel also read a letter from resident Karen Moewe, also editor of the Chillicothe Independent, about her strong concerns about the possible council vote. She encouraged an environmental impact study to be completed and allow residents more time to see the revised document.

After talking to city attorney Mike Seghetti, Underwood said the Chillicothe Plan Commission will look at the revised plan for annexation, which could meet next week.

A public hearing was at 6:45 p.m. Monday before the 7 p.m. council meeting.

Underwood then pulled all the annexation and rezoning motions about the topic for the council meeting.

Demolition do-over

Fyke said the city is calling a mulligan, or do-over, with the demolition of unneeded items of the former ADM property, which is now owned by the city.

Confusion over three words — bid, estimate and RFP (Request for Proposal) — led to problems at the riverfront, Fyke said.

At the last council meeting, aldermen discussed the possible problem, but voted to let the council’s approval of River City Construction to demolish the unneeded items stand.

Under state law, a more than $20,000 project must use the bidding process.

Chillicothe, however, does not have an ordinance on the books for its procedure.

An RFP was thought to be published in the Peoria Journal Star by economic development director Lisa Burnett.

After going through the documentation, Fyke said, the information was faxed to the wrong department at the business, and therefore was never published.

Burnett then sent confirmation to River City Construction that the council accepted the bid.

A subcontractor of the company began work March 4, but the contract had not been signed or proof of insurance shown, said Fyke.

With workers and equipment there, Fyke had operations stopped.

Coming soon in front of the council, the city’s policy is expected to be that any project costing more than $20,000, not just public works’ projects, be published for bid, Fyke said.

A legal notice is being run in this week’s newspaper.

When asked if the measure opens the city to possible lawsuits, Fyke said he is not sure.

No one knows River City’s exact bid, other than it is to cost not more than $35,000.

In other items, the council:

• heard Crabel announce that the city received a letter recognizing and commending personnel for maintaining perfect compliance of Illinois’ fluoridation law in 2007

• saw photos placed on file by resident Jeff Anderson of “Chillicothe’s new river — RiverSound River.” Although water run-off was a problem behind the houses around Sweetbriar, McGrath and more, the situation became worse after homes were built in RiverSound subdivision. “It’s time we go to this developer and make him do something,” he said. Underwood said there is a berm to be made there eventually. The issue was referred to the public works department.

• approved a $2,433.50 project for Moffitt Nature Park to purchase 135 tons of crushed limestone

• approved a notice for special event held on public property for the use of Cutright Park and the south parking lot, including the boat ramps, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 12 for the annual Illinois River Sweep

• heard alderwoman Judy Cantwell “wholeheartedly commend” the Chillicothe Police Department for its work at District 321 schools recently after threats were discovered

• heard alderman Chris Boyer, who presented information in the absence of alderman Jim Thornton, say that the city’s budget session will be at 8:30 a.m. April 5

• authorized city engineer Ken Coulter to survey and prepare a conceptual plan to add a right turn lane for southbound traffic at Hillcrest Drive. Alderman Denny Gould said the area is in the Tax Increment Financing District and TIF funds possibly could be used for the project. He noted the motion is just to see if the lane would be feasible.

• and authorized Coulter to prepare bid specifications and advertise for bids for the police station conference window project. The buildings committee members are checking into reducing the number of large windows in the conference room.