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updated: 10/22/2013 12:23 AM

Lawsuit coming over N. Aurora mining expansion deal?

Lawsuit coming over N. Aurora mining expansion deal?

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  • North Aurora Village President Dale Berman

      North Aurora Village President Dale Berman

 
 

Representatives of the Chesterfield subdivision in North Aurora are charging that the village board acted illegally Sept. 23 when it approved an expansion of the rock-mining operation at Lafarge/Conco on Route 25.

And they may ask a court to overturn the decision, according to the president of the Chesterfield Homeowners Association.

The village board Monday refused to reconsider its vote on the matter, after discussing the allegations that it gave improper notice about a plan commission hearing. A letter from the association's lawyer said the association would ask a court to declare the annexation, annexation agreement and rezoning invalid.

"You, Chesterfield, can take any action that you desire," Village President Dale Berman said.

Afterward, association President Patty Graw said the association's board of directors would meet to decide whether to sue. "We will go forward and do what we need to do," she said.

The lawyer, Nicolas Nelson, said it would have been less expensive for the village board to invalidate the agreement, have another public hearing and "let these residents come and vent," even if the board ended up voting the same way. Now it faces "expensive litigation," he said.

Lafarge/Conco and the Chesterfield residents have history. In 2011, the village board denied a request for Lafarge/Conco to annex a ComEd right of way along the mine's northern and eastern borders because the company wanted to mine underneath a 6-inch natural gas pipe in the northern part. Chesterfield residents feared mine blasting would damage the pipe.

They have also complained repeatedly about noise and dust generated by the mine, which also crushes rock.

This summer, a new annexation and rezoning request was submitted for the same 21 acres but prohibiting mining in the northern section and for 1,000 feet of the eastern leg. It was approved 5-0, with Berman voting and two trustees absent.

Nelson told trustees Monday residents were "shocked" to learn about the new annexation and rezoning from newspaper articles. The association contends that required legal notices, which are to be sent to owners of properties within 250 feet, were not sent to the proper people. The association owns a common element, a lake, adjacent to the northeastern corner of the land in question.

As a corporation, the association should have been notified through its registered agent via the post-office box listed in the secretary of state's records, Nelson said. Village Attorney Kevin Drendel said property owners were determined using tax assessor's records of where property-tax bills are sent. One of the three notices was sent to a Libertyville address and was returned. The other two were sent to Baum's office in Aurora, where the agent works. Nelson said the Libertyville address belongs to the company that developed the subdivision years ago. Drendel said the registered agent and Graw confirmed Aug. 26 that the notices had been sent to the Baum office.

Graw said Monday that the mine is not obeying restrictions about its hours of operation for rock-crushing, running at all hours of the night. She said efforts to mitigate dust migration are not working, either.

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