Lakemoor residents protest proposed mining pit expansion off Route 120

LAKEMOOR – Lakemoor residents are protesting a proposed expansion of an existing mining pit because of noise, pollution and property value concerns.

Thelen Sand & Gravel Inc., a building and construction supply company with locations throughout northern Illinois, has been mining on 182 acres of land it owns north of Route 120 and south of Lincoln Road in Lakemoor. Thelen recently has acquired more property surrounding its existing mining area and wants permission to expand its mining operations to 346 acres.

The expansion would put operations adjacent to residential areas, and neighbors said they don’t want to deal with the consequences of having a mining pit operating next door.

“Basically, the overall view is that the quality of life for so many people is going to be impacted by something that shouldn’t be put where it is,” resident and local real estate agent Sharon Lane said. “You think you’re going to sit on your deck when this is going full blast? Property values are going to go down.”

More than 100 people showed up to a recent informational session about the project when Thelen officials were at Lakemoor Village Hall to answer questions and address concerns.

“We have been mining here [for eight years], and we don’t get a lot of phone calls now,” said Dan Shepard, the company’s executive vice president. “If you have concerns, I say call me, and we will address it.”

He added that Thelen has been in business in Lake and McHenry counties for the past 70 years and isn’t planning on going anywhere.

“We want to be a good neighbor, but we also want to mine the property that we own,” he said. “There’s the dispute.”

Resident Pandora Rouleau said she already can hear noise from the site at its current location and is worried it could get worse, particularly if the village grants permission for Thelen’s request to operate 24 hours a day, six days a week for two months a year.

“We can already hear the operations of the machines,” she said. “It’s not horrible, but you can hear it. If you told me we would have that noise 24 hours a day and during the night, that would be just awful.”

Some were concerned with the project’s effect on wildlife in the area. Ann Korpan, a member of the Valmar Estates Homeowners Association, which is near the proposed site, said she has seen wolves and the endangered Blanding’s turtle in the neighborhood, and she doesn’t want those animals disrupted. Water quality and residents’ health also are considerations, she said.

“Our septic tiles and septic field is in the backyard,” she said. “All the vibrations [from the work] – will that affect the stability of wells and septic fields?”

Lakemoor’s Village Board rejected a plan to reopen a mining pit near Moraine Hills State Park in 2016 after residents protested with similar concerns. Moraine Hilltop LLC had wanted to move forward with the plan.

The village’s Planning and Zoning Commission will conduct a public hearing on the matter at 6 p.m. Feb. 5 at Lakemoor Village Hall, 28581 Route 120.

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