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Where the Rails Cross the River

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At a community meeting Monday evening, August 1, citizens were given an overview of the process going forward as FLM Enterprises – owners of an 80-acre parcel immediately west of Chillicothe’s corporate limits – appeals a Peoria County order that revokes a “special use” permit that would allow gravel mining on the property.   Mayor Crew and Peoria County Board member Jim Fennell went over the history of the parcel and explained the Zoning Board of Appeals process for considering FLM’s request.

The Zoning Board hearing is scheduled for Thursday, September 8 at 9 a.m. (NOW SET FOR 10:00 AM)  in Room 403 of the Peoria County Courthouse.  The seven-member board will hear from the attorney representing FLM and the Peoria County State’s Attorney’s office who is representing Peoria County.  The issue is between Peoria County and FLM Enterprises, LLC, the property owner.  The City of Chillicothe is interested because mining on the site in question would halt any development west of the current city limits. 

Residents and property owners in and near the corporate limits of Chillicothe are urged to write letters and sign petitions that are circulating (and also available at City Hall) that oppose gravel mining on the site.  Also, residents are urged to attend the September 8 hearing to show their opposition.  At the hearing, there will be opportunity for comments from the public so feel free to express your opinion.

Final resolution of the question – is FLM allowed or not to mine gravel on the property – likely could end up in the courts.  Anyone not happy with the decision at the zoning board could appeal to the circuit court within 35 days.  A judge would review material submitted at the ZBA hearing and hear arguments from both sides before issuing a decision.  Again, either party could appeal that decision to the appellate court or potentially, beyond.

For now, FLM Enterprises has been granted a stay on the stop work order and will be able to work and mine on the property until the ZBA hearing.  We looked at potential legal action to request the stay be revoked but we’re advised that case law favors property owners in these sort of disputes. 

The potential development of gravel mining on that 80-acre parcel has been in dispute for decades.  The City believes the original special use permit granted in 1974 is no longer valid since mining has not been going on continuously over these many years.  The City is determined to do all it can to ensure that mining will not be allowed on the property. 

Doug Crew