CROWN POINT | The possibility of a proposed south Lake County quarry has broken to the surface after being buried in court for several years.
Representatives of Singleton Stone LLC, filed formal applications Wednesday before the special Lake County Drainage Board to get county permission to alter two drainage ditches that run through their 600-acre site near the Interstate 65 and Ind. 2 interchange, east of Lowell.
Singleton wants to pump groundwater, expected to seep into the quarry, into the Dinwiddie and Singleton ditches, which eventually drain into the Kankakee River.
The special drainage board asked Singleton to present its plans 8 a.m. Dec. 18 to their 11-member advisory committee, which represents property owners throughout the county.
That committee is expected to make their recommendations on the proposed quarry to the special drainage board, which will meet Jan. 29, 2014, for a possible decision.
One board member who won't be taking part in that decision in Lake County Commissioner Gerry Scheub, D-Crown Point.
Normally, Scheub, and County Commissioners Roosevelt Allen, D-Gary, and Mike Repay, D-Hammond, do the drainage board's work, but a downstate judge ordered Scheub to remove himself from any decision on this development because of his outspoken opposition to the quarry.
Attorney Richard McDevitt, a mediator and former Lake County Circuit Court magistrate, is sitting in Scheub's place for this matter only as a special drainage board member.
The proposed quarry has been tied up in litigation since the Lake County Council gave its qualified approval to zoning the site for business in 2010.
South county property owners and Scheub, who represents residents living around the proposed site, oppose the development, arguing the pumping might dry up local wells and flood the county's drainage system.
Singleton has promised to minimize any environmental impact.
Shortly after Singleton received zoning approval three years ago, the owners of two nearby farms sued the county on grounds the council's decision to grant zoning to the quarry was illegal, but a judge refused to give them standing to challenge the quarry and an appeals court upheld that decision.
The quarry owners also sued Scheub, arguing he couldn't fairly deliver a decision on the drainage request. Scheub wasn't present at Wednesday's special meeting.