Where the Rails Cross the River
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***Flushing of Fire Hydrants will begin the week of July 25, 2016***
COMMUNITY MEETING TO DISCUSS PROPOSED GRAVEL PIT
For decades, there have been questions about the use of an 80-acre parcel immediately west of the City of Chillicothe between Truitt Avenue and Sycamore Street. In the 1970’s, the site was considered for a gravel quarry and some excavation was done to determine the quality of the aggregate. Later, a local development company bought the property to prevent mining and use the property for eventual City expansion and development. The property changed hands a couple more times, with the present owners from all indications intending to extract gravel.
The issue on whether the current property owner – FLM Enterprises, LLC – can mine there turns on the application of a special use permit granted by Peoria County to the previous owners in the 1970s. That “non-conforming” use permit would have had to continue throughout the years for it to be effective today. A break in the non-conforming use of more than six months would require the property owner to re-apply for a permit that would allow mining.
Earlier this year, it appeared that some kind of mining activity was taking place on the property and Peoria County, at the City’s request, investigated and advised the property owner that the non-conforming use certificate was revoked. A stop work order also was issued in regard to alleged violations concerning general erosion and sediment control parcels. FLM Enterprises is appealing the County’s actions before the Peoria County Zoning Board of Appeals. A hearing originally scheduled for Thursday, July 14 has been continued to Thursday, September 8 at 10 a.m.
Many residents and local organizations are concerned about the impact on the community of a potential gravel pit on the property. The City Council shares those concerns, and has taken steps – in the past and more recently – to stop gravel mining at the site. Recent action by Peoria County to address the issue likely will be the first step in a process that could extend many months and lead to a battle in the courts. When that process ends, however, we should have a final answer on use of the 80 acre parcel.
Concerned residents should be assured the City is taking all possible steps to prevent mining on the property in question. We’re currently working to schedule a community meeting on the subject in early August. We will provide information as the process moves forward. Questions can be directed to any of the aldermen or the mayor’s office. A community meeting is set to take place on Monday August 1, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at the IVC HIgh School Auditorium.