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Neighbors continue opposition to Elgin-area trucking proposal

Updated: November 18, 2012 6:51AM

GENEVA — A room full of concerned neighbors voiced their opposition to a zoning petition Tuesday that would turn a vacant industrial building west of Elgin into the home for a trucking company.

The standing-room-only crowd showed up at the Kane County Board Development Committee meeting to oppose a plan by Road Handler Express trucking company in South Elgin to purchase the building on Coombs Road just north of Highland Avenue. The building is currently owned by Northfield Block Co. and formerly held a concrete-block factory.

There is too much residential buildup around the area to allow a trucking company there, neighbors said.

“More traffic is coming with additional subdivisions being built there,” said Wildwood Valley subdivision resident Jeff Reid.

Reid was one of 12 people speaking on the issue during the meeting. Residents from the Highland Springs, Wildwood Valley and Wildwood West subdivisions expressed their concerns about increased industrial traffic through the neighborhood, which has largely turned residential.

Elgin resident Sherida Eilrich made an emotional plea to development committee members, asking them to deny the zoning petition. She referenced a petition with more than 200 signatures opposing the project and asked the residents to stand up as she spoke.

Increasing truck traffic in an area where many people bike and walk the roads, and many children play, would create safety hazards that buyers were not aware of when they moved into the neighborhood, she said.

“Would you want to raise your children or grandchildren near this?” she asked.

The building has been zoned B-3 since the 1950s, a designation that worked for Northfield Block, which previously made concrete blocks there. The trucking company would need a special-use permit to operate in that type of zoning, however.

Lawyer responds

The petitioner’s attorney, Pat Griffin, acknowledged that trucks would be coming and going at all hours of the day, a concern of the residents. He said they would not be idling for long periods, however, and the total amount of traffic generated from the facility would be small.

Griffin said the company currently owns 15 trucks but that most of the trucks would be gone, traveling the country, at any given time. He said there would be between three and five trips generated from the facility on any given day. The company agreed to limit the total number of trucks it would keep on the property to 25, Griffin said.

County staff originally recommended approving the project. But when 52 people showed up at a zoning board of appeals meeting in September to oppose the project, the ZBA members attending unanimously recommended denial.

The item did not appear on the noticed agenda for Tuesday’s meeting, so the development committee was not able to take a vote on what to recommend to the full county board. The committee still listened to the public comments from the residents and the lawyers for the petitioner.

The item is to appear on the Nov. 13 county board meeting agenda.

The building is located in committee member Cathy Hurlbut’s Elgin-area 19th District. She cautioned board members about becoming too selective in the zoning process.

“We don’t get to pick the B-3 that goes in there,” she said. “The buyer picks the B-3 that goes in there.”

Hurlbut noted that the building has been sitting vacant for two years, since Northfield Block no longer operates there.

“It’s a health hazard the way it sits today,” she said.

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