What is expected to be considerable public input on a garbage transfer station proposed for Round Lake Park will begin to flow Monday.
The first of 15 scheduled sessions, as part of a public hearing before the Round Lake Park village board, is set for noon to 10 p.m. at the Round Lake Beach Beach Cultural & Civic Center, off Hook Drive west of Route 83.
Groot Industries Inc. wants to build a waste transfer facility at the northeast corner of Route 120 and Porter Drive. Up to 750 tons of garbage per day would be dumped in an enclosed building and loaded onto bigger trucks to be taken to a landfill.
The village board, as the local siting authority, is required by state law to hold a public hearing on the proposal and ultimately decide to accept, accept with conditions or reject the plan.
"We have to decide if Groot is meeting all the criteria," said Mayor Linda Lucassen. "It's just like a jury; you have to listen to all the evidence."
And it promises to be a thorough process. While it is unknown how much time will be needed, the village has booked 140 hours at the civic center through mid-October to ensure that anyone who wants to be heard can have his or her say. Most of those sessions have been scheduled for the banquet hall, which seats 150.
"We don't know (how long it will last) but we want to make sure we allow enough time for the public," she said.
A hearing officer will preside and court reporters will be present for the quasi-judicial process. The general outline calls for testimony and cross-examination of experts and other witnesses, with about an hour reserved during each session for general public comment. Lucassen said the village also is trying to schedule a Saturday session for that purpose.
This would be the first waste transfer station in Lake County. Transfer stations are allowed under the county's solid waste plan.
Community members of the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County voted 32-1 in favor of a host agreement with Groot. But there has been opposition from Round Lake and neighboring residents. Among the concerns are noise and impact on traffic and property values.
Round Lake will be represented at the proceedings by an attorney, and the village has hired a real estate appraiser. The neighboring Villas of Timber Creek mobile home park also has hired an attorney.
"(There are) just a lot of questions and things that have to be answered," Village Administrator Russell Kraly said.