Grayslake annexes land, gives approvals for truck terminal

Grayslake has extended its southern boundary to make way for a $14 million truck terminal but the future of the facility remains hazy.

The village board without comment Tuesday unanimously approved measures to annex and zone 33 acres of what is known as the Roppelt farm at the southwest corner of Midlothian and Peterson roads.

An annexation agreement also approved by the board lists a truck terminal with 100 docks and repair and maintenance facilities by Saia Inc., as the initial development on the property.

But the extension of sewer service, required as part of the agreement, is in limbo and the next step is uncertain.

Grayslake gets sewer service through Lake County, and the expansion to the newly annexed area requires county approval. The matter was to have been discussed Wednesday by the county board's public works and transportation committee, but it was withdrawn the day before at the village's request.

"They just weren't ready to go before public works at this time," Mayor Rhett Taylor said Wednesday.

New sewer connections are delayed because the county does not have a contract with North Shore Sanitary District, the village had been told.

"We're looking at all the information and at some point, Saia will make a decision to proceed or not," said Kirk Smith, Grayslake's zoning officer.

The company has land use and zoning approval but would need to apply for building permits, he added.

Saia spokeswoman Jeannie S. Jump said Wednesday the Georgia-based company intends to submit plans for permit review in the next few weeks, and could begin site work as soon as the end of September.

Details of the measure had been discussed at previous sessions. Village officials touted the investment in the area and Lake County, as well as the jobs, as being beneficial. Jump said 60 people will be hired.

The annexation brings Grayslake to the Mundelein village limit. Neighboring residents opposed the facility, citing traffic, safety and decreased property values as issues, and a lawyer for Mundelein also voiced concern with the proposal.

"It's a coup for you guys if you get the taxes but we have to live with it out our back door," Mundelein resident Terese Van Donsel told the board after the vote.

"We understand the value this brings (but) there are other areas available for this," added Sue Markgraf, who lives nearby and serves as vice president of the executive board of the Lake County fairgrounds, which is across the street.

The annexation agreement outlines 11 conditions for development, including: underground bulk fuel tanks; a six-acre buffer area with a berm and water features on the southern border; and, trucks equipped with shut-off mechanisms to reduce idling. The berm was increased by 10 feet in height to a maximum of 36 feet, for example.

"Saia has addressed, we believe, the neighbors' concerns," Smith said.

Mundelein Mayor Steve Lentz said Wednesday the village has invested millions to be able to serve the property with sewer and water and has more than sufficient capacity to do so.

"We feel that whole area should be annexed into Mundelein," he said. He said his board has not discussed the Saia proposal.

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