Residents again question Grayslake truck terminal plan

Opponents of a truck terminal on the southern edge of Grayslake turned out in force for another chance to vent during a public hearing held by the village's commission/zoning board of appeals.

During nearly three hours of testimony Monday, several members of a crowd that approached 200 and spilled into an adjoining hallway and backroom, ripped the idea of the 24-hour truck operation across from a residential neighborhood in Mundelein. Concerns ranged from the dangers and noise of abundant truck traffic to the safety of people using an adjoining bike path to health impacts from diesel emissions.

Many of the comments were met with applause from the audience that had been recruited by Mundelein officials and others to make a stand.

"I was extremely pleased with the high quality of testimony our residents gave," Mundelein Mayor Steve Lentz said Tuesday. Lentz said he expected a closer decision but opponents said they were not surprised at the 6-1 vote in favor of the rezoning.

"They can build on the property all they want. At the end of the day, it will come down to a court decision," he said.

The village and several residents have sued Grayslake and SAIA Motor Freight Line LLC and questioned the validity of the annexation and zoning, saying the use was incompatible with the surroundings. The site borders Mundelein on the south and Libertyville on the east.

The hearing was unusual in that the property at Midlothian and Peterson roads, known as the Roppelt farm, was annexed and zoned a year ago and construction of the project is well underway. Monday's hearing was scheduled at the request of SAIA because of the lawsuit that, in part, alleged defects in the original notice for rezoning.

"We are here tonight simply to correct any potential alleged error. We don't believe there was an error," said attorney Scott Hargadon, representing SAIA.

The issue, according to zoning board Chairman Karl Molek, was whether the 33-acre property should be classified as a limited industrial zoning district and not specific to SAIA, although he gave the audience wide latitude in the focus of their comments.

Mundelein resident Melanie Mazur, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said she has worked in the freight industry for 35 years. She said the beeping noise during the night will carry for miles.

"You have adversely affected the reputation of Grayslake," she told commissioners.

SAIA is hosting a job fair July 16-18 in Gurnee. The Grayslake terminal is expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2016 and will employ 100, said Jeannie S. Jump, a company spokeswoman.


The crowd at Monday's Grayslake plan commission/zoning board of appeals. Courtesy of Gloria Charland
Steve Lentz is the Mundelein mayor.
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