Peoria County sets aside previous ruling

Marianne Gillespie

FLM will need special-use permit for gravel pit

The most exciting news of the Chillicothe City Council meeting came, unfortunately for the public, behind closed doors in executive session of Monday night’s meeting.

The city’s special attorney, Danny Schroeder, spoke to the council about gravel pit issues.

In a letter on this week’s editorial page, Mayor Gary Fyke announced, “I am very pleased to inform everyone that our attorney has been successful in getting the ruling set aside.”

In a letter dated Feb. 9, Peoria County Department of Planning & Zoning director Matt Wahl wrote to Stanley Maxheimer, manager of FLM Enterprises LLC.

Wahl wrote that, based on the information he had in August 2007, he wrote FLM a letter stating that their non-conforming use certificate was still valid.

He also said he received more information, raising “doubts” about the opinion.

“At this time, I believe the non-conforming use in question may have been abandoned prior to the time that you obtained possession of the property. Additionally, I feel it only fair to point out to you that even if the non-conforming use has not been abandoned, you may not have the right to expand the use of the property in question beyond the existing ‘storage pile.’”

For months now, Schroeder gathered information about 80 acres of land directly west of Chillicothe city limits.

Last summer, residents became alarmed after sand piles were removed from the property, owned by FLM LLC.

City officials asked for clarification about the zoning status of the land. At that time, they were told that since the storage of the overburden never ceased from Martin-Marietta Corp. testing the soil, the non-conforming use permit was still valid, according to a planning and zoning officer.

In 2001-02, the late Steve Maxheimer sought a special-use permit for that land, as well as additional acreage. He withdrew his petition a few months before his death.

FLM LLC includes his heirs, as well as his brother, Stanley, and brother-in-law Joe LaHood.

Stanley Maxheimer and LaHood, who also own Mossville Land Investments, recently petitioned for special use permits on a 222-acre gravel pit facility in Medina Township, which was rejected by the Peoria County Board. They are seeking a review of the decision.

The council also heard resident Laura Schaufelberger express her interest in aiding the city with project plans as a volunteer should the city receive funds through the economic stimulus package.

Fyke said the city’s requests were submitted with the Tri-County Planning Commission as part of a package for the Central Illinois area.

City office manager Denise Passage submitted two water main projects, both replacing 4-inch water lines with 8-inch lines on First and Sixth streets from Hickory to Chestnut streets.

Economic development director Lisa Burnett submitted the downtown riverfront revitalization project, which included the riverboat landing area, retreat center and Project Facelift.

Her information was compiled by consultant Tom Tincher and then submitted by her, at the request of Fyke.

Alderman Troy Childers Sr. said he thought the aldermen should have known what was submitted.

The information should have been on file with city clerk Sharon Crabel as well, officials noted.

In other items, the council:

• heard talk about the silt problem near McGrath Road. As homes in RiverSound are being built, neighbors in front of the area complained of mud and dirt sliding into their yards. Construction trucks also were using a dirt path on what eventually will become a continuation of McGrath Road to avoid dropping mud on city streets. Some residents, however, are using the path when the weather is nice. Alderman Denny Gould said he would have superintendent of public works Sid

Crabel look at the issue.

• heard police union negotiations will begin next week

• concurred with the mayoral proclamation of Feb. 15-28 as Bald Eagle Days

• accepted a letter from Richard Lipsey, chairman of the board of police commissioners, appointing Patrick Donovan to fill the position of probationary patrolman for the Chillicothe Police Department, effective yesterday. He was sworn in Tuesday morning. He makes the ninth officer on the force.

• approved a notice for special event held on public property to use city streets and City Park stage for the annual River Run 5K race from 7 to 11 a.m. May 23

• approved live entertainment in the American Legion’s outdoor pavilion May 29-30 and to extend the playing of amplified music from 11 p.m. to midnight

• approved paying Ace Tree Service $3,100 for removing trees after the ice storm in December 2008

• approved an ordinance approving an amendment to the Central Business District/Riverfront Redevelopment Plan. Childers voted against the measure. The council unanimously approved an amendment to the Plaza Park Redevelopment Plan. The city regularly updates its plans for the Tax Increment Financing districts. Burnett said the measure is simply to allocate funds should a project become available and is simply a “wish list” of development that could occur within each TIF district.