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posted: 3/4/2014 5:30 AM

Kane board member: Waste Management reneging on Settler's Hill

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  • A Kane County Board member is pointing a finger at Waste Management for a lack of progress in redeveloping the old Settler's Hill landfill.

      A Kane County Board member is pointing a finger at Waste Management for a lack of progress in redeveloping the old Settler's Hill landfill.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer


Plans to redevelop the old Settler's Hill landfill in Geneva hit a major impasse Monday when Kane County officials revealed negotiations with the co-manager of the facility have fallen apart.

County board member Mike Donahue is the point person on implementing a series of public recreational uses for the landfill and accompanying campus on Fabyan Parkway. He informed his fellow board members in a letter Monday that Waste Management has refused to sign off on the plans.

Donahue didn't detail the roadblocks, but the legal liability of using the landfill site for heavy public use has been an issue of concern for the county since officials began discussing potential redevelopment.

"Waste Management has chosen to hold these efforts hostage while it attempts to exact amendments to the landfill operating agreement that are favorable to them but puts the taxpayers of Kane County at risk," Donahue wrote. "It has become clear to me that Waste Management is not motivated to uphold the promises it made to the people of Kane County more than 30 years ago when it offered its grand vision for a public recreation area to be constructed upon the finished landfill in exchange for our consent to host a regional solid waste disposal facility.

"I find their apparent unwillingness to fulfill this promise now to be a monumental breach of the public trust," he wrote.

Donahue finished the letter by saying he is not optimistic about a resolution, but he will give Waste Management another week to reach a compromise. Failing that, he will invite other public officials to come forward and voice their grievances with the company in public.

That campaign would piggyback on disdain created when a methane gas leak from the landfill sites seeped into local neighborhoods about two years ago. Waste Management officials worked for several weeks to solve the problem, which they said was created by existing public uses of the landfill campus.

Waste Management spokeswoman Lisa Disbrow didn't want to get into the specifics of the negotiations but said the company hasn't walked away.

"We are committed to working with Kane County to resolve the outstanding issues associated with the revised agreement and working with the county regarding their end use plan," Disbrow said in an email. "We value our relationship with Kane County and remain steadfast in fulfilling our environmental commitments regarding Settler's Hill."

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