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Legal action could be on horizon for Meyer Material Co. over operations in McHenry

Public hearing for Meyer Material Co. extension draws crowd

Meyer Material Co. Algonquin and McHenry plant manager Doug Averkamp addresses McHenry City Council members during a meeting April 2.
Meyer Material Co. Algonquin and McHenry plant manager Doug Averkamp addresses McHenry City Council members during a meeting April 2.

A lawyer for the city of McHenry said the municipality has been “duped” by Meyer Material Co. and alluded to future legal action against the mining operator during a contentious meeting that ended in a late-night executive session Monday.

The debate about whether to extend the South Elgin-based sand and gravel operator’s permit has been ongoing and hotly debated.

Meyer Material owns more than 1,000 acres on the north and south sides of Route 120 east of Wonder Lake Road. The company’s permit is set to expire this year, but Meyer Material wants to continue extractions.

Now city attorney David McArdle wants the operator to shut down for at least 60 days starting May 4 until a new agreement is in place.

“If Meyer fails to do so, the city will order them to cease operations,” he said.

McArdle invited Meyer Material’s lawyers into closed session after the meeting.

“There is no way we can avoid a court case,” he said.

The city has been struggling to lay out terms of a future deal. The legal scrutiny stemmed from Meyer Material’s lack of disclosure about the terms it follows under a deal with the city of Cary. Cary requires what McArdle called “significant” provisions when it comes to things such as reclamation plans and noise monitoring for the gravel pit operator.

“We believe this oversight was intentional,” McArdle said. “It’s clear to me that Meyer deceived the city and myself.”

McHenry’s Planning and Zoning Commission greenlighted the request at its Feb. 14 meeting, but neighbors have raised concerns about dust, pollution and the length of time the company wants to continue operations.

Residents raised additional concerns Monday about a claim by the Financial Times that Meyer Material’s parent company, LafargeHolcim, is facing legal trouble overseas regarding potential payments it allegedly made to terrorists during its time operating in Syria.

At their last meeting, McHenry officials considered the item under discussion only, and some aldermen said they wanted to see a letter of credit to guarantee reclamation of the site, higher berms to obstruct the view, regular reports, higher tipping fees and regular dust and noise sampling.

Meyer Material originally wanted to extend its permit until 2032, but it might have to settle for a shorter term. The city of McHenry annexed 409 acres in 1988, and 117 acres were added in 1998 for the mining business.

The City Council will meet at a future date to decide how to move forward.

City officials were not out of executive session late Monday night to comment on the next steps.

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