Despite a recent village press release announcing the denial of Hanson Material Service Corporation’s request to begin blasting operations on an 80-acre parcel along Taylor Road, residents who live near the proposed expansion site continued to voice their opposition to the plan and to the quarry itself, located on Route 53 near Independence Boulevard.
Several residents spoke up once again during the public comment portion of Wednesday’s village board meeting.
This time, some of their neighbors and other community members also showed up to urge the group to be patient and to remove the signs erected in the neighborhood, including along Taylor Road.
Tomasz Suliga, a Nottingham Ridge resident who has been leading the charge against Hanson, applauded Mayor John Noak for denying the company’s request to mine the Taylor Road site, known as the Spangler property, but said he still has fears about the quarry’s future.
Suliga once again raised the issue of Hanson’s blasting standards, saying the company’s application included a request to increase peak particle velocity from the current half an inch per second maximum to 1 inch per second.
But according to Noak, that isn’t going to happen.
“We’re not looking at changing the blasting standards,” Noak said.
Lockport resident Tracy Panepinto questioned whether the quarry’s blasting is behind recent pipeline ruptures in and around Romeoville, like the 2010 Enbridge oil spill and the leak at 135th Street and New Avenue in Lockport in December of that same year.
“I feel the effects of the blasting at my house in Lockport,” she said. Other residents who spoke up voiced concerns about the blasting's effects on air and water quality.
But some who showed up at Wednesday night’s village board meeting came to voice their frustration at the anti-quarry campaign.
According to Nottingham Ridge resident Jimmy Barber, although the village has decided against Hanson's request to mine the Spangler property, you wouldn’t know it from the atmosphere in the neighborhood.
“The signs are still up,” he said. “It looks a little tacky.
“We really need to push forward and come together,” Barber added, noting that the neighborhood’s proximity to the quarry and the nearby Lewis University Airport were no secret to those who bought homes there.
“I did agree upon where I lived when I bought in 2003,” he said.
Leo Venegas, a Valley View board member and Romeoville resident, said he believes the group is misleading other village residents when it comes to the quarry’s proposal.
“I think there’s a lot of madness and scare tactics out there,” Venegas said. “There was no decision made, and still there was panic,” he said, adding that, ultimately, the village sided with residents who opposed the plan.
Anthony Bonanno, president of the Nottingham Ridge association, said the fight against the quarry expansion has divided the neighborhood.
“I guess I’d say you have a couple people I would classify as extremists,” he said, adding some have called for his resignation.
“Sensible people feel [the village’s decision] was a victory,” he said. “I feel it was a victory … The village listened to our concerns and they weighed the pros and cons.”
Bonanno acknowledged that just because the village said no to the Spangler proposal doesn’t mean Hanson won’t submit a new request.
“Hanson can turn around and submit a completely different proposal,” he said. “ … But the current proposal is dead, so that fight, as far as I’m concerned, is over.”
Despite the decision to deny the request to mine the Spangler property, the village’s Planning and Zoning Commission will still hold a previously scheduled public hearing on the plan, set for 7 p.m. Feb. 14 at Romeoville High School, 100 N. Independence Blvd.