An official hearing is months away but opposition already is mounting against a waste transfer station proposed in Round Lake Park.
Groot Industries Inc. has submitted a notice of intent to file with the village on Friday a request for siting approval to build and operate the transfer station on about four acres at the northeast corner of Route 120 and Porter Drive.
The request comes two weeks after an informational meeting in which Groot outlined its intent to pursue a construction and demolition debris recycling facility on 14 acres on Porter Drive. Groot also operates a hauling yard in the industrial area.
Many residents first learned of the transfer station proposal during that meeting and since have been discussing strategy and gathering signatures in opposition to both proposals.
"Residents are more than concerned," said Amy Pieniazkiewicz, a Hainesville resident who lives about a half mile from the proposed sites.
Traffic, noise, potential pollution and an adverse impact on home values are among the issues to which residents will be seeking answers, she said.
The construction and demolition debris recycling facility would accept materials such as wood and asphalt shingles. The proposed Groot Industries Eco-Campus already has received local approval. A permit from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is required and a decision is expected by the end of the year. Written comments are being accepted until Nov. 30.
At a transfer station, garbage is dumped by route trucks and loaded onto bigger trucks that take it to a landfill. Groot says landfill capacity in Lake County is dwindling and it needs to be thinking ahead.
"Landfills are finite," said Devin Moose, director of Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure, which is submitting the application. Groot has invested "tens of millions" of dollars in Lake County, he added.
"We can't afford to be without these facilities. They're not developed overnight."
Transfer stations are considered regional pollution control facilities and are governed by state statutes. By law, the village must hold at least one public hearing between 90 and 120 days after the application is filed. That filing also comes with a $100,000 fee to be held in escrow for expenses related to the hearing.
The quasi-judicial proceeding allows objectors to hire attorneys, present testimony and appeal the decision by the Round Lake Park board of trustees. If approved, IEPA permits to develop and operate the facility also would be required.
Mayor Jean McCue said that because village officials will be hearing the matter, they are unable to respond to questions or discuss potential issues.
"Any discussion about it beforehand is not proper," she said Monday.
The Solid Waste Agency of Lake County is expected to recommend against the transfer station because it does not follow the county's 2009 solid waste management plan, which in part calls for host agreements with SWALCO and county.
"We basically are saying to Groot and Round Lake Park, `There's a county plan and we put a lot of energy and effort into the document and we expect it to be abided,'" by, said Walter Willis, executive director of SWALCO.
Moose said the plan is just that and allows for transfer stations. Groot tried to negotiate a host agreement, he added, but the county was asking "three to four times" the going rate, which doesn't allow the company to be competitive.
"We'd like to negotiate a fair host agreement with them," he said.