Marengo Lakes quarry annexed into city boundaries

Gregory Harutunian for Chronicle Media

Marengo city manager Gary Boden points to a plat map showing the location of an 80-acre parcel that was being considered for annexation and a zoning change, prior to a Feb. 2016 council session. (Photo by Gregory Harutunian/for Chronicle Media)

The Marengo City Council approved an annexation agreement and zoning reclassification for the Marengo Lakes LLC, bringing a combined 510-acre quarry as a new entity into the municipal boundaries, during its Feb. 27 meeting. The council’s vote was preceded by a public hearing to address public concerns over the endeavor.

The McHenry-based firm of Super Aggregates, owned by Jack Pease, is making arrangements to combine a 256-acre parcel, which was approved for annexation and permit changes in Feb. 2016, with a parcel that abuts the property to form the larger limited liability corporation. The sand and mining operation, along Pleasant Grove Road, will now have access points on Route 23.

“Two council members were absent from the meeting, although all of the pertinent rezoning was approved, along with the annexation,” said City Manager Gary Boden. “Effectively, it merged the properties last year, with 80- and 175-acre parcels, approved by McHenry County, and now it’s in the city. The points of ingress and egress are now on Route 23, with the addition, instead of Pleasant Grove Road.”

Approval from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, in the form of permitting, will be the next step for the sand and mining operation, concerning an on-site composting and landscape materials waste area. Pease had said the material would amount to leaves and grass deposits that would eventually be moved to a composting facility.

“The compost site would be on land, immediately south,” said Boden. “The public hearing section brought four residents to voice their concerns.” Issues of odors emanating from the compost pile, potential groundwater contamination, and decreased property values for homes in proximity to the quarry were heard.

The city council voted 5-1 to approve rezoning classifications for the business, with Ward 4 councilman Dennis Hammortree casting the dissenting vote. The annexation agreement was approved 6-1, with Hammortree again voting nay, and Mayor Donald Lockhart casting his vote in favor of the proposal.

The city will receive 5 cents per quarried ton of material over the life of a 20-year agreement with the city of Marengo, amounting to a projected figure of $2.5 million estimated by company officials. The prior measures brought a semblance of conformity with existing agreements in the area, Last February, when Pease, through Super Aggregates, had approached the Marengo city council about the gravel pit.

He sought to move forward to annex sought to annex an 80-acre parcel into the municipality, along with a zoning change to accommodate an adjacent 175 acres to a mining-manufacturing designation, for the purpose of development. The 80 acres were previously situated in Riley Township, under McHenry County jurisdiction, and south of the larger parcel. The annexation agreement including Lockhart was approved by a 7-1 vote, while zoning changes were approved by a 6-1 vote. At that time, Hammortree also cast the dissenting vote on both issues

The site’s location on the south side of Pleasant Grove Road, and its intersection with Meyer Road, raised red flags when coupled with increased truck traffic. The language of the agreement, specific operation hours, an extension of three years on current annexation agreements for properties already in the city to match the proposed 20-year agreement as a unification were drafted points of discussion.

Boden had said the differences were the 5 cents-per-ton extraction fee, and encompassing the other agreements around the site. Concessions were obtained that the company is responsible for resurfacing and rehabbing the travel lanes. Also included was a waiver of real estate fees to the municipality, until such time as any phase of the Route 23/I-90 interchange construction is completed, allowing access to either roadway until the property is sold, or May 31, 2018.

The interchange project connecting Route 23 with the I-90 Jane Addams Tollway began Feb. 13, and is expected to continue into late next year. Under the aegis of the Illinois Tollway Authority, the traffic lanes along Route 23 will change, as construction of access ramps and excavation are carried out. Route 23 traffic will be limited to a single lane, during certain points in the effort.

“The traffic flow on Route 23 will be controlled by a signal light, and well-marked,” said Boden. “It’s by Harmony Road, and about two miles north of the quarry site.”