Owners of apartments across the street from ARC Disposal on Busse Road said they are glad that Mount Prospect has annexed the property.
But they sounded far from happy Tuesday night at the village board meeting, when the board annexed and rezoned ARC's properties into a new industrial solid waste handling district.
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Despite changes in the ordinance that would admit the properties, located at 1921, 2069, 2101, 2105 and 3125 S. Busse Road, into the new district, property owners felt the ordinance would allow the waste hauler to become a greater nuisance, with expanded hours of operation, more truck traffic and, hence, more garbage and, they say, more rats.
The village did tweak the ordinance based on suggestions made by the property owners at a recent village meeting -- none of the residents of the apartment complexes attended.
The board modified the setback and lot coverage requirements. Instead of 100 percent lot coverage, it would stop within five feet of the property line, while instead of no setback, the buildings would be set back at a minimum of 25 feet from any arterial street and five feet from all side and rear property lines.
In addition, the language prohibiting the storing of solid waste, or the transferring or sorting of it, "outdoors" was changed to "outside of a covered structure." That was in response to concerns about existing structures that, while enclosed, still were exposed.
Owners, who face the challenge of renting property adjacent to a waste transfer station, felt the village didn't go far enough and erred on the side of being too permissive.
Trustee Arlene Juracek said she is aware that people are uncomfortable with the use of the site. But she said that under Cook County zoning, the use was not going to change. Moreover, she said the annexation would give the village control and the ability to enforce the concerns of the neighbors.
"There is an old saying that 'It's better to deal with the devil you know than the devil you don't know.'"
Mayor Irvana Wilks said to the property owners, "We are not bringing in a garbage transfer station. It is already there. It already exists. And so by us annexing it, it gives us control over all of these issues that you have brought up."
But Nancy Comita, who owns property in the Victoria Hills complex, was concerned about the ordinance's stating that the business may be conducted around the clock every day of the week.
She said, "We have approximately 3,300 people across the street, on the west side of Busse Road. That's a lot. I can't see why they would be allowed to operate that much."
Community Development Director William Cooney, however, said every business in Mount Prospect has the right to operate around the clock.
The attorney for ARC, Ken Kubiesa said, "We have no plans to expand." He also said he does not know if ARC can operate in the evening. "We have union contracts that restrict labor on the site."
Trustee Steven Polit said he is against restricting hours, noting that recent experience of a Mount Prospect restaurant that had restrictions placed on it.
"It made it a burden for that restaurant to be successful. And that restaurant went out of business," he said.
Lee DeWald, attorney for the Victoria Hills homeowners association, said the language regarding outdoor storage should have been more restrictive, calling for enclosed structures.
Instead, he said, it would open the door for more structures like the semi-enclosed ones currently on site, which would lead to more garbage flying around
At times, tensions between the trustees and the property owners seeped out.
Comita said the apartment complexes were there before the garbage transfer station. Only recently has the use become intense, she said.
This prompted Trustee Paul Hoefert to ask, "And when they intensified the use there, did you go to the county and say something about that?"
Hoefert said the village would be more protective of the properties than the county.
However, Trustee A. John Korn added, "The more I hear, the more it sounds like you guys don't want any help."
Trustee John Matuszak said the village has provisions in its code that address noise and rodent control.
Property owner Phyllis Rose, who complained about rats and trash, said after the meeting she felt the board members had "taken the side of the corporation," not appreciating the seriousness of the problems the landlords and their tenants face with the operation.