CHICAGO HEIGHTS | Officials from Glenwood and Thornton were among those voicing opposition Monday to a proposed facility that would grind up used shingles for conversion to asphalt for road repair.
What has those officials concerned is that those shingles and the ground-up material would be stored outside in a pile that could be as high as 30 feet and about 300 feet across.
The Cook County Zoning Board of Appeals heard arguments regarding a special-use permit request for the facility, which would be located in an unincorporated area between the two villages.
Glenwood Village President Kerry Durkin said he’s convinced many area residents will wind up getting significant amounts of shingle dust blown onto their homes and into the air they breathe.
“What are you doing to protect my 9,000 residents,” Durkin asked at one point during the hearing. “All of you stand to lose because you won’t pay” to build a structure for storage of the material.
Also expressing concern was Russ Oberman, Thornton building inspector and code enforcement officer, who said he worried that the shingle dust would get into the water that often causes flooding in the area.
He questioned whether adequate studies had been done of the standing water in the area around Glenwood-Thornton Road and 183rd Street where the proposed facility would be located.
Richard Guerard, an attorney representing Hanson Materials and Marblehead Lime Co., the owner of the proposed facility, said the 48.3 acre site is in a largely isolated area, with the Thornton Quarry to the north, Mount Glenwood Memory Gardens cemetery to the east, railroad tracks to the west and a forest preserve to the south.
There are nine homes located between the proposed site and the cemetery. Also, the 7.5-acre Polish-American Country Farm is situated between the proposed site and the forest preserve.
John Parzygnot of the farm said he believes flooding will worsen in the area.
“We already have enough flood problems" from nearby Thorn Creek, he said.
Guerard offered a report by the Real Valuation Group that says outdoor storage “will not be injurious to the use and enjoyment of other property in the immediate vicinity.”
Durkin was skeptical, saying he believes the Hanson Materials company specifically chose an unincorporated site, figuring Cook County would be easier to deal with on environmental issues than either Glenwood or Thornton.
“They picked an unincorporated area for a reason,” Durkin said, adding later, “Who am I supposed to complain to when there’s dust all over the place, the county?”
Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman Terry O’Brien said the county has stringent requirements that the company would have to comply with to operate such a facility.
The zoning board spent about 1.5 hours reviewing the issue, although a recommendation will not be forthcoming until late August or early September, O’Brien said. The Cook County Board has the final decision on whether to grant the special-use permit.
William Haworth, a project manager for Hanson, said company officials hope to have the facility operating by the end of 2012, although he said it could be delayed until spring 2013.