Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wha' Happened?

What really happened at last night's Woodstock City Council meeting?

The bottom line - on the table was a request for special use permit to begin mining gravel in Woodstock on the north side of U.S. Route 14, west of Lily Pond Road.

I suspect a lot of people in Woodstock thought the City Council was voting on a multi-purpose event venue, including a minor league baseball stadium and a new home for the McHenry County Fairgrounds.

One speaker asked if the City Council would rush through the permit process if the request were ONLY for a mining project. If the Council had an answer for that one, I didn't hear it.

The Petitioner claimed, through his attorney, that he would abandon the entire project if the City Council didn't approve it last night.

Whoa! Did Woodstock slide on the ice into Chicago last night?

No one (no City Council member, including the Mayor) asked just what the rush was to get the permit approved last night. Words slid around about timing, urgency, intimations that the seller wasn't going to sell the land (at the same price?) if the Council didn't approve it at that meeting.

Another speaker asked the Council to delay its decision and take time to study an important environment report that was delivered to the City only the day before. He referred to "transparency" in dealings and said, "If the proposal can't stand a one-month delay, then there is something wrong with the proposal."

The Council and the Petitioner continued to skate around on the ice on one final sticking point. Everybody was tired by 12:30AM, and confusion was mounting over word-smithing of a final condition at the last minute. Had sufficient time been taken to work out details before the Council meeting, the meeting would have been 2-3 hours, not 6 hours. That's SIX hours. (Maybe I'll re-think my position on Council pay. At least, they don't get paid by the hour.)

The deal started out with 48 Conditions attached to the Plan Commission's recommendation for approval. Will we ever know why the Plan Commission voted (unanimously, which is unexplainable) to clear the request with a record-setting 48 Conditions?

The last condition? (unless I closed my eyes (and ears) too many times between midnight and 1:00AM) If the stadium doesn't get started by May 2014, then no further mining can occur. If anyone thought Woodstock was voting on a baseball stadium and not a mining project, he should have stayed to the end of the meeting.

Merryman's claim is that the construction of the stadium must start in the Spring of 2009 in order to be ready for the first game in 2010. Can a ballpark be built in a year? Stadiums, buildings, parking. Wetlands protected. Environment studies. Stormwater management studies.

One thing is for sure. The mining will start.

1 comment:

Richard W Gorski, M.D. said...

We all know that "money talks" and "_ _ walks". So whats new it always has and always will be this way. Revenue and taxes are what drive the economy....somewhere down the line come the people that will be effected...that is if they even come into the equation.