Meyer Material plans to again ask Cary for extension on lake project

Provided by Meyer Material 
These ariel views of the site are meant to show progress since the last annual review by Meyer Material. Route 31 is on the left side of each photo while Klasen Road is along the bottom. The photo on the right is from May 1, 2015.
Provided by Meyer Material These ariel views of the site are meant to show progress since the last annual review by Meyer Material. Route 31 is on the left side of each photo while Klasen Road is along the bottom. The photo on the right is from May 1, 2015.

CARY – Representatives of Meyer Material Co. said efforts to catch up on progress for the mining along Route 31 have fallen short and a request for more time likely will come to the village in the fall.

On Tuesday, the company presented to the Cary Village Board its annual report of the project – the last one before the mining operations deadline of June 1, 2016. The overall project is supposed to be done June 1, 2018, with a stipulation for a $100,000 penalty for each month it exceeds the deadlines.

"We don't have enough time to make the lake as large as people desire," said Randi Wille, manager of environmental and land services for Meyer Material. "We're going to ask for an extension and offer more financial contribution in lieu of the penalty."

The company is hoping to extend the mining deadline to June 1, 2019, and the overall completion date to June 1, 2020 – a decision that would require a public hearing before the Board of Zoning, Planning and Appeals and approval from the Village Board.

The project began in 2008, when the village permitted Meyer Material to expand its gravel pit beyond Algonquin borders into Cary with an ordinance granting a conditional use permit, subject to conditions and financial contributions. The site is expected to eventually consist of a recreational area with a lake, walking path, as well as restored commercial-use land in Cary.

The project fell behind years prior which resulted in a previous 2011 request for more time. It was presented at a Board of Zoning, Planning and Appeals hearing, denied, and ultimately pulled before the issue reached the full board.

At that time, Meyer Material said the recession had taken a significant toll on its progress, the company's volumes taking 60 percent to 70 percent hits compared to pre-recession mining, Wille said.

Still catching up from that time, Wille added Meyer has since encountered other issues, namely more overburden than expected – overburden is unmineable silt and clay overlying minerals – which has slowed production.

He also cited limited allotted hours of operation and some inclement weather.

For Bruce and Cheryl Janu, Fox Trails subdivision residents who have been wary of the project from the beginning, the news was frustrating. Bruce said nearby residents have dealt with noise and dust for years despite the berm established to reduce adverse effects.

"Residents have been putting up with this thinking everything would get better next year," said Bruce, who in 2008 commissioned a blog in opposition of the gravel pit. "The deal was to have [the mining] done next year, and we just want them to stick to the deal."

The Janus were among the 130 households to receive a $7,500 concession from a home value assistance program, for which Meyer Material gave a total of $1 million.

In addition, the company agreed to pay a total of about $5.25 million over 10 years in impact fees, land conservancy contributions and payments for the construction of the Fox Trails connector path. To date, about $4.35 million has been paid on time with the latter payments for the connector path received in full, according to village documents.

Village Administrator Chris Clark said those contributions have been "a blessing to the village," some having gone toward replacing vehicles, which he added would have otherwise been almost impossible during the recession.

Wille said he considers some continued financial contribution in lieu of the $100,000-a-month penalty a "halfway" point that would be more manageable for the company.

Issues surrounding when and how the penalty applies would be further addressed after a request for an extension comes in, however, Clark said.

In the meantime, the Janus and some trustees have expressed interest in getting the community more involved with the process by way of tours of the site and a potential open house for area residents.

Clark said residents should expect to soon see information on the village website about such events.

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