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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

Joliet mayor on quarry proposal: 'People are upset about it.'

The council was expected to hold a public hearing on a proposed quarry development in Joliet during the meeting. However, elected leaders announced that the item would be tabled until the April 18 council meeting instead. The item had already been postponed from the December meeting so that the council could hear public opinion.

The proposal calls for the annexation of six parcels of land near 800 Richards St. and 620 Sandall Pl. in southeast Joliet to allow PT Ferro Construction to expand its soil operations into the area. This would include the company using blasting tactics to break down materials instead of its current practice of hydraulic crushing. The area would be used as a flagstone quarry and a disposal site for construction and demolition debris. The proposal only permits blasting between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Although the item was tabled, citizens could still share their opinions on the matter with the council. Many southeast residents asked council members to forbid any blasting, citing prior homes in a similar area that had cracked walls, off-kilter doors, and other structural issues on top of noise and debris problems. Residents also voiced concerns about the proximity of the site to two separate school buildings, as well as the potential traffic impacts on the students and buses as well.

In addition, residents asked the council if it had considered the potential damages to residents. They wanted to know whether anyone, such as the city or the company, would be prepared to offer payments and replacements for any damages made to a resident's home or property as a result of blasting.

Residents asked the council to gather more information on the topic before moving forward, and the council agreed to invite third parties to Joliet to discuss the impacts of blasting, as well as to inform both the public and the local school board about the potential issue.

"I am speaking for the whole council without speaking to the whole council," Mayor Bob O'Dekirk said. "But again, it's controversial. People are upset about it. It should be brought forward very publicly and either voted up or voted down so we can move forward."

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