Will County Board rejects concrete crushing plant in Wheatland
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain Correspondent February 21, 2013 11:17AM
Kamala Martinez, speaking for the residents from the Will County Coalition for Responsible Industrial Activities, talks about the possible zoning change for Boughton Materials during the Will County Board monthly meeting at the Will County Office Building in Joliet, Illinois, Thursday, February 21, 2013. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 22, 2013 1:26PM
The Will County Board unanimously rejected two zoning requests from Boughton Materials Inc. on Thursday that would have paved the way for concrete crushing at the company’s Wheatland Township quarry.
Thousands of area residents objected, fearing air and water contamination from concrete dust that might include asbestos. They also worried that increased truck traffic would be a bad mix with teen drivers from two nearby high schools.
Company officials said it would agree to many conditions to prevent health and environmental problems and that concrete crushing would take place only once a year for a few weeks in the fall. They also noted that Vulcan quarry, which is just to the south of the Boughton site, is zoned industrial.
Boughton has sued the county three times in the past and won special-use permits to mine and crush limestone at its quarry, which is located at the intersection of Hassert Boulevard and Plainfield-Naperville Road.
This time, however, the company wanted a zoning change from agricultural to industrial. But county board members said that was not appropriate because there are so many homes and schools in the area now.
Both Naperville and Bolingbrook objected to the company’s plan. Wheatland Township recently reversed earlier approval. And 16 homeowners’ associations objected to the zoning requests as well.
“We are elated,” said Kamala Martinez, a River Run Homeowners’ Association board member. “And we will fight this thing to the end. If this goes to court we will be behind Will County the whole way.”
Scott Pointner, a Wheaton attorney representing Boughton, said company officials would meet to decide on future action, including a possible lawsuit.
“When you have that many members of the public speaking out and putting political pressure on (board members), this is not unexpected,” Pointner said.
Eugene Geekie, a founder of the Will County Coalition for Responsible Industrial Activity, said Boughton’s owners knew the land was zoned agricultural when they bought the quarry.
“It’s not in the public interest, it’s solely in Boughton’s interest,” he said of the request for industrial zoning and a special-use permit to crush concrete.
In the end, the board couldn’t allow industrial zoning so close to densely populated residential areas and the thousands of people who opposed it.
“This is about zoning — plain and simple,” said board member Chuck Maher, R-Naperville.