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Where the Rails Cross the River

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Is allowed between October 1, 2016 and December 15, 2016

After four hours of listening to attorneys, property owners, and city officials, the Peoria County Zoning Board of Appeals Thursday was forced to postpone any final decision regarding FLM Enterprises, LLC’s right to mine gravel on the 80-acre site on the west edge of Chillicothe.  The ZBA completed the process of collecting evidence and hearing testimony but was forced to postpone its deliberation and final decision in order to vacate the hearing room before the scheduled Peoria County Board meeting. 

No more evidence or information will be added to what’s already been entered in the public record.  The ZBA will discuss what it heard and make a decision at its Thursday, October 13 meeting at 11 a.m. in Room 403.  The public is invited.

The attorney for FLM indicated that despite an affidavit produced by the City of Chillicothe claiming the right to mine gravel was abandoned due to a 10-year lapse beginning in 1983, in 2007, FLM was told it had the right to mine per the Peoria County Planning and Zoning office saying the permit was valid.   Months later, that office indicated the right to mine may not apply.  That was the beginning of several years of uncertainty -- which after increased mining this spring -- prompted Peoria County to act.  When it did, it claimed the non-conforming permit issued in 1974 had, in fact, been vacated due to the earlier abandonment of mining during the 10 year period beginning in the early 1980s, and no longer was in effect.    That notice resulted in the appeal to the ZBA and Thursday’s hearing.

Following the ZBA ruling, the next step in the process normally would be an appeal by the losing party that would send the issue to the circuit court.  Evidence and testimony submitted for the ZBA hearing will be considered in the appeal to the court but no new evidence, testimony or information is allowed.  The court ruling – from one of the sitting judges in the 10th judicial circuit -- could come months following the filing of the appeal, most likely sometime middle or late 2017. 

The City of Chillicothe will continue to work with Peoria County officials to oppose any efforts to mine gravel at this site.

The ZBA chairman reported that it received 27 letters and 747 signatures on petitions opposed to gravel mining at the site.  More were submitted at the hearing.  Citizen involvement was instrumental in this first step of the process.  All those who supported efforts to stop gravel mining adjacent to the City are owed a debt of gratitude for their outpouring of opposition.

Mayor Crew