Sunday, December 19, 2010

Plan Commission dusts off mining project

On December 2 the Woodstock Plan Commission made a heroic effort to protect the citizens of Woodstock. How they endured the meeting, I have no idea. Had I been in town, I would have been there to watch the squabbling.

After a short Public Hearing on a matter involving a autism treatment facility, the Commission moved on to the heavy part of the agenda. Before opening the Public Hearing on the mining project, the Commission heard from Mayor Sager. First, according to the Minutes, he told them he was not speaking for the City Council and that he did not want his appearance there to influence or exert pressure on their actions. And then, the Minutes reflect, he proceeded to provide them "guidance".

(Listen up, Plan Commission members; be good boys and girls. Remember who appointed you.)

I got bleary-eyed, just reading the lengthy Minutes of the meeting. The Mayor wants consensus, agreement, let's-all-be-friends-here (my words). Well, I'll tell you - it's nice to do business in a friendly way.

Now, go out and talk to the neighbors of the gravel pit. Ask them about noisy trucks early in the day, cracked windshields, uncovered gravel haulers, mud on Lily Pond Road, speeding trucks (because there are no speed limit signs on Lily Pond Road), concerns about groundwater, bringing in dirt, etc., from outside the pit and dumping it there.

Why is it that residents have been complaining to various departments of the City?

When the Special Use Permit for the gravel pit was approved, the City Council put 50 conditions on it. Residents and some city stafff believe some of the conditions have not been met. The lawyering was evident, per the Minutes. Ultimately, the Plan Commission approved expansion (clarificiation) of some of the conditions, and I guess now it will be up to the City Council to jam them down the throat of the pit operator.

Will there ever be a baseball stadium, which was a key part of the original plan? That "gimme" was the way that the pit operator greased the proposal to sail through.

Maybe next time the City Council won't succumb to a developer's "rush job".

Read the good article in The Woodstock Independent about the Plan Commission meeting. You can view it at

Be at this week's City Council meeting - Tuesday, December 21, 7:00PM. Bring your NoDoze; you might need it.

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