Medina Plan Commission says no to gravel pit

Nick Stroman

In front of a packed house of nearly 100 concerned Medina Township residents, the township planning commission voted unanimously Monday against two special-use permits to build a proposed gravel pit facility on Old Galena Road.

Mossville Land Investments LLC, comprised of managers Stan Maxheimer and Joe LaHood, is seeking to create a 222-acre facility at 14728 N. Old Galena Road.

The public hearing at Mossville Grade School was an opportunity for the company to come forward and share the project plans with neighboring homeowners and hear their concerns.

“All the close neighbors are more than welcome to stop by this fall to walk through the project,” Maxheimer said, in his only statement to the audience.

Mort Sill of Chillicothe said he is opposed to the project because he does not want to experiment with the area’s water supply or have any more heavy trucks on the roads.

“We all moved out here to get away from noise and live a quiet lifestyle and don’t want our property values lowered,” Sill added.

Company attorney Janaki Nair, who fielded most of the audience questions, said the nearest edge of the facility under the proposed plans is 1,200 feet from Old Galena Road and the company is negligible if there are any noise problems.

“We want to make people comfortable, and demonstrate this is a good project,” she added.

Cecil Dixon said his driveway sits 200 yards from the entrance of the proposed site and is worried about his three small children.

“We already have trucks coming down Galena at 70 mph, and that traffic would just get worse,” Dixon said.

“If it’s going to potentially hurt my kids, I’m very much opposed to it,” he added.

According to the application, truck traffic is expected to average 30 trucks per day, but may vary between 20 and 50 trucks.

Marcia Minter has lived near Wayne Road for 38 years and said traffic flow there is already dangerous with a narrow road and many senior and student drivers.

“If two cars approach each other, each has to head to the shoulder to pass by,” Minter added.

When asked if Wayne Road would be used for the gravel pit trucks, Nair said it would not be used.

“You can’t guarantee that though,” grumbled a few audience members.

John Schaefer, an attorney for Medina Township, said with cemeteries on each side of the site and historical markers at St. Joseph’s dating back to the 1800s, the area should not be disturbed.

“Those are solemn sites and any kind of mineral extraction is going to cause damage and unrest,” Schaefer said.

He added the township is aware there are similar mineral extraction sites in the area, so there is not a need for another.

Commissioner Bruce Alkire said the vote against the gravel pit does not stop the project, but merely sends a cautionary message to Peoria County.

“We represent everyone here in the township and you have to listen when 200 petitioners and your state officials are opposing a project,” Alkire said.

“We can’t sit up here and act like we know better,” he added.

The Medina Township Planning Commission’s vote will be added to opposition already expressed by State Sen. Dale Risinger, State Rep. Dave Leitch and Illinois Department of Transportation officials.

The county’s zoning board of appeals will look at the information next, followed by the land use committee and the final vote for approval or denial is in the hands of the full Peoria County Board.

Maxheimer and LaHood have filed a continuance for a public hearing originally set for this Thursday in order to allow time for an environmental impact study.