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Article updated: 7/14/2013 6:52 AM

E. Dundee to vote on auto auction business Monday

By Lenore T. Adkins

When East Dundee trustees decide Monday whether to let a wrecked auto auctioneer do business in town, there will actually be two separate votes, due to a recent decision by ComEd that forces the business to use another street for access.

And members of the Barrington Hills-based group, who have opposed the plan amid concerns Insurance Auto Auctions will pollute their groundwater, plan on speaking their minds one more time at that Monday meeting.

"My position and many of my neighbors, I would say, is that until and unless they can guarantee that Barrington Hills, East Dundee and (Barrington Area Council of Governments) residents' water supply will not be contaminated, the project should not go forward," said Marvin Husby, a Barrington Hills resident who has been on the front lines of the fight. "And that's always been our position."

One of the votes will be on a redevelopment agreement that would channel $3.5 million to IAA through a special tax increment finance district the village created for the company last year. The money would help IAA offset the nearly $9 million investment it plans to make in the village.

If approved, IAA would purchase property north of Route 72 at Commonwealth Drive, build a 12,000-square-foot building and use 34 acres of outdoor storage for the totaled vehicles it would stock before auctioning them off to the highest bidder.

East Dundee stands to benefit quite a bit -- IAA would bring 25 jobs to the area and the incremental property tax from the project would generate $210,000 a year for the village, officials said.

East Dundee also plans on charging IAA a $10 title transfer tax for every vehicle it auctions off; IAA is expected to process 25,000 vehicles a year.

The second vote involves re-voting on the industrial subdivision plan East Dundee endorsed for the project last September.

The board has to vote on it again because ComEd, pointing to environmental concerns it has with IAA's project -- most of the same ones former Barrington Hills Village President Robert Abboud raised -- said IAA cannot use the utility-owned easement on Commonwealth Drive.

IAA must instead use Healy Road for access, which means the village has to change the wording in the industrial subdivision plan to show Healy Road as the new access point.

ComEd's delay in getting back to IAA on the easement delayed the project for almost a year.

Abboud acknowledged this week to relaying his concerns to the ComEd CEO and her husband just before the delay.

The street change doesn't require a second public hearing, said East Dundee Village Administrator Bob Skurla, because it's the only piece different from the original plan.

But the move from Commonwealth Drive to Healy Road means IAA will have to spend another $695,000 on improvements to Healy Road and Route 72.

An IAA spokeswoman said she would not make anyone available for comment until after Monday's meeting.

Its plan to set up shop in East Dundee has drawn heavy pushback from Barrington Hills residents who live in a subdivision near the proposed project.

The 400-member group, called Citizens for Clean Water, fear the leaking fluids from IAA's vehicles will contaminate their groundwater.

Although IAA has agreed to spend $300,000 on recommendations the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency suggested to help alleviate pollution concerns, they don't go far enough for Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin, who said he will attend Monday's meeting.

"I am opposed to the project, absolutely, because I believe that it does pose a threat to our aquifer," McLaughlin said. "There are various agencies that cannot specifically quantify the threat, which disturbs me."

But East Dundee Village President Lael Miller says Barrington Hills has nothing to worry about.

He said his trustees listened to Barrington Hills residents and ran the plan by the Illinois EPA and other experts to ensure the proper safeguards are in place.

"It's been over-engineered and looked at by so many different people," Miller said. "From an engineering perspective and from all the experts that have looked at this, I think the primary concerns of groundwater contamination have been mitigated.

"I don't think it's going to be something the residents of Barrington Hills are going to see."

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