Issues regarding a proposed garbage transfer station in Round Lake Park are being readied for a thorough exam, with a public hearing set to begin Sept. 23.
So dense is the controversial plan that village officials have booked space at the Civic & Cultural Center of Round Lake Beach for 20 weekdays, nearly all in 10-hour blocks.
"We want to get this done. We want to do this right," said Round Lake Park Mayor Linda Lucassen. "We know we have a big job ahead of us."
An initial session is scheduled for Sept. 20, but that is intended to discuss ground rules and other aspects of the proceedings in advance of public testimony, she said.
The proceedings are the first step in a quasi-legal process in which the village board will make a determination whether to approve, approve with conditions or reject the application by Groot Industries Inc., for the facility at the northeast corner of Route 120 and Porter Drive.
Groot filed a 1,215-page document with the village June 21, and the village has up to four months from that point to schedule a public hearing. Lucassen said the booking was sought to accommodate as many as 150 people. The document is available at www.swalco.org.
As proposed, the transfer station would be a 27,800-square-foot enclosed building where garbage trucks drop their loads on a concrete floor to be transferred to larger trucks. The facility would accept up to 750 tons of trash per day.
The garbage transfer station would be the first in Lake County. Both Lake County and the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County have approved host agreements with Groot, which include payments to each of 45 cents for every ton of trash.
In April, SWALCO member communities voted 32-1 in favor of the agreement, with the village of Round Lake dissenting. The facility would be within 1,500 feet of some Round Lake homes. Opponents have questioned the impacts on property values and traffic, among other considerations.
Walter Willis, executive director of SWALCO, said the burden of proof is on Groot to show through its application and testimony that they deserve local siting approval from the village of Round Lake Park.
During the proceedings, Willis said, Groot will have several experts talk about the impact of the transfer station on traffic, nearby residential property values and other aspects. Anyone in opposition to Groot's plans will be given the opportunity to provide testimony, Willis added.
"Objectors can hire their own experts and their own attorneys," he said.
Lucassen said the sessions will be well publicized as the date nears.
Groot has its headquarters for waste hauling on Porter Drive in the industrial area. It also has received state permission to build a construction and demolition debris recycling facility on 14 acres south of that site but no immediate plans to begin that project have been forthcoming.