E. Dundee mayor candidate wants meeting on auto auction proposal

Updated 2/8/2013 5:49 PM
  • Jerald Bartels, left, and Lael Miller are candidates in the race for East Dundee village president.

    Jerald Bartels, left, and Lael Miller are candidates in the race for East Dundee village president.

The two men running for village president in East Dundee disagree whether a public meeting is the best way to explain a controversial auto auction proposal to the residents.

East Dundee Trustee Lael Miller supports the idea of holding such a public meeting because in his view, there's a lot of misinformation floating around about the plan. A public meeting could help clear up whatever confusion residents may have about it, he said.

Miller plans on talking to Trustee Allen Skillicorn, who also wants a meeting, to see about putting it on a future agenda for a vote.

"It wouldn't be a bad idea to have representatives of the board and the village to meet with the public and to let them know what's going on," Miller said. "I think we just need to set the record straight and if having a meeting with the residents helps that, fine."

But Village President Jerald Bartels says East Dundee already has done what's legally required to inform residents.

There have been multiple public hearings on the matter, the plan has been before the planning and zoning commission and it's already been discussed at the board level, Bartels said.

Bartels also doesn't understand how Miller could hold a public meeting and exclude Barrington Hills residents from coming, when public meetings are supposed to be open to everyone.

In addition, Bartels hasn't heard from an outpouring of East Dundee residents who have said they don't understand the proposal, so in his mind, a public forum is not justified.

"I don't know what he'd be trying to accomplish," Bartels said. "These guys literally could pull a building permit and start working tomorrow, so I guess if he was concerned that there was more information that was necessary, I guess a time for that would have been back before the decision was made to approve the site plan and the subdivision layout (for Insurance Auto Auctions)."

If people need more information, they can call the village, visit its website or ask questions during the public comment section of the village board meetings, Bartels said.

Insurance Auto Auctions plans to sell totaled vehicles to the highest bidder from a 12,000-square-foot building and 34 acres of outdoor storage north of Route 72 at Commonwealth Drive in a reclaimed gravel pit. The site borders a Barrington Hills subdivision, where residents fear leaking fluids from the vehicles will contaminate local groundwater.

East Dundee has approved the concept of the plan but has yet to take a vote on its redevelopment agreement.

Miller said the meeting would be for East Dundee residents, but others could come too. He gets emails from East Dundee residents weekly about the project and wants to answer all their questions before the final vote.

"I think we ought to have one last opportunity to be able to explain what we're doing, why we're doing it," Miller said. "I don't think you can ever over communicate."

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