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‘Unanswered Questions’ On Compost Facility Plan

Wednesday, May 03, 2017
Journal Online

By LAUREN BARRY Journal & Topics ReporterJournal & Topics Media Group

Those opposed to the proposed Patriot Acres compost facility across from Oakton Community College’s Des Plaines campus are waiting on an opinion from the Cook County state’s attorney on whether the project may require a supermajority vote to be approved by Cook County commissioners.

Des Plaines has formally expressed its opposition to the proposal to the Cook County Board. Generally, this would require a three-fourths supermajority vote by the county board in order for a proposal to be approved. Mount Prospect, another community that could be affected by the facility, also contacted the board with concerns and a list of conditions for approval, including a 24-hour hotline.


However, county Board President Toni Preckwinkle said that the communities would have had to alert the board before the March zoning board meeting regarding the proposal to trigger the supermajority requirement, according to Des Plaines Ald. Malcolm Chester (6th).

At the meeting, the zoning board of appeals voted 4-0 in favor of the project.

The facility would be located on the former Sexton landfill site in unincorporated Cook County, more than two miles from any residential property.

“We maintain that they didn’t take final action at the Cook County Zoning Board of Appeals Board,” Chester said Tuesday. In order to sort out the issue, Chester said commissioners asked for the state’s attorney’s opinion.

“This will probably be determinative,” Chester told the Journal, though he added that the board can decide not to follow the opinion.

Discussion of the proposal will continue May 10 during the Cook County Board of Commissioners Zoning and Building Committee meeting. At this meeting, the committee will discuss a recommendation on the proposal to provide to the board.

Committee Chair Peter Silvestri previously spoke out against the project. He later said that he would abstain from voting on the matter because Schain Banks, Kenny & Schwartz, a law firm he has been associated with, is representing Patriot Acres.

Des Plaines city staff is reaching out to Cook County Commissioner Sean M. Morrison for help in blocking approval of the proposal, according to City Manager Mike Bartholomew. Morrison represents part of the city and is also a member of the zoning and building committee. Chester said he may reach out to county Commissioner Tim Schneider who represents part of Elk Grove Village that could be affected by the compost facility.

“One of the problems that we’ve had is that it happened so quickly,” explained Chester. “There are a lot of unanswered questions.”

Chester said traffic, leakage, fire risk and proximity to the Des Plaines River Bike Trail are his main concerns regarding the proposal. He has not yet heard feedback from meetings held by the project developer last month at Oakton Community College.

In response to the meetings, Patriot Acres recently altered its proposal to exclude a plan to sell stones and gravel. Proposed hours of operation were also changed from 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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