Lakemoor Planning and Zoning Commission positively recommends mining expansion proposal

Lakemoor’s Planning and Zoning Commission gave a positive recommendation on a controversial proposed mining expansion project after an hours-long meeting Monday.

Thelen Sand and 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.

Thelen’s property is about 717 acres total, according to a public notice about the hearing. The proposed mining operations would abut residential homes in the area, and homeowners are concerned about noise, plummeting property values, decreased quality of life and pollution.

Some residents said they already are affected by mining operations at the site, despite testimony from experts that the expansion won’t have a significant effect in terms of noise or nuisance.

“I personally have complained to the village about noise,” McHenry resident Mike Gora said. “I disagree the noise is that of the wind or a dishwasher. I have experienced some level of noise past the ordinance. I have called past 9 p.m. I have called the county because Lakemoor wouldn’t address my concerns.”

More than 100 people from Lakemoor and the surrounding areas showed up to an informational meeting about the proposal in January, and about the same number came to Monday’s hearing, some armed with petitions against the proposal.

Several things have changed from Thelen’s original proposal. Officials have withdrawn a request to operate 24 hours a day for six days a week twice annually, and they instead want to operate from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Thelen also proposes a berm at a minimum of 20 feet tall, upon the commission’s request, and will plant trees to help block the view.

In a nearly two-hour presentation, Thelen officials interviewed numerous environmental, housing and noise experts, but their arguments failed to qualm some residents’ concerns.

“We fully understand [the petitioner’s] desire, but as long-term homeowners, we want our voices heard,” resident Stan Mill said. “We are all on well and septic, and we are concerned with how they will be affected. Testimony [Monday] said they wouldn’t, but who is responsible? … What assurances or agreements do we have in place to protect property values?”

The proposal now will go to the Village Board for final approval during a tentatively scheduled meeting Feb 20.

Commissioners Robyn Neilsen and Rick Aguilar voted against the plans.

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