McHenry City Council approves temporary mining deal with Meyer Material Co.

Meyer Material can continue operations through Aug. 6

The McHenry City Council on Monday approved a temporary deal with Meyer Material Co. that will allow the mining company to continue extractions through Aug. 6.

The South Elgin-based sand and gravel excavation company has been seeking a permit to extend its operations through 2032, but the proposal has drawn criticism from residents and some members of the City Council.

Top worries have included the effects of dust, noise and pollution on neighboring residences. Some aldermen also have wanted to take a look at tipping fees Meyer pays to the city, an updated reclamation plan for the property and a requirement on more regular dust and noise testing.

Nearby resident Vicki Shepperd, who was chairwoman of the city’s Plan Commission in the 1980s when one of Meyer’s agreements was discussed, said she wanted to see more details hammered out with a future contract.

“I bought a house by the gravel pit. I knew it was there,” she said. “But I want my water protected. I want a current reclamation plan.”

She added that she has experienced effects of living by the pit since she bought her home six months ago.

“If I have to use my backyard, I can’t hear myself talk,” she said. “I have a gray pickup truck I can write my name in. ... It’s covered [in dust].”

Meyer Material owns more than 1,000 acres on the north and south sides of Route 120 east of Wonder Lake Road. The city of McHenry has annexed its properties dating to the 1970s. The company also has locations in Algonquin, Harvard, Marengo and McHenry.

The company has faced scrutiny in the past at a Cary location, as well.

In 2016, Cary officials rejected Meyer’s request for a three-year extension on mining activities at its site near Route 31 after hearing complaints from neighbors. The board allowed the company in 2017 to begin operating a floating dredge with a requirement that action ended by the end of the year and that the company completed restoration six months after.

The Cary deal was at the heart of a sudden threat to shut down the McHenry operation in May. McHenry City Attorney David McArdle said Meyer hadn’t been forthright about conditions it had worked out with the village for the development.

Cary requires what McArdle called “significant” provisions when it comes to things such as reclamation plans and noise monitoring for the gravel pit operator.

The deal approved Monday essentially stops Meyer’s current permits from expiring May 4 until Aug. 6 or until an official extension agreement is complete. Meyer and the city still are in the negotiation process.

The agreement bars either party from taking legal action against the other unless a 45-day notice is given to terminate the contract.

The agreement was approved unanimously. The council members will continue to discuss the issue at future council meetings.

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