Waste transfer station is scrapped

Morton Grove resident Tom Maddex breathed a little easier this week after learning that a garbage disposal company has scrapped tentative plans to open a waste transfer station in the village after neighbors began grumbling.

"It does appear to be good news," Maddex said. "One of our goals was to have them not submit their application."

On Monday, Lakeshore Waste Services told the Village of Morton Grove that it will not pursue previously discussed plans to develop a waste transfer station on property adjacent to its corporate headquarters at 6132 Oakton St.

The village has never received a formal application from the company, said Morton Grove Village Administrator Ryan Horne. But he also said the village was aware that Lakeshore Waste Services was considering submitting the application.

"We continue to believe that a waste transfer station would be a compatible and acceptable land use in Morton Grove, given the proposed industrial park location and the strict environmental regulations that would govern its operations," Lakeshore Waste Services President Josh Connell said in a written statement.

"I respect the public process and community involvement, and was fully prepared to begin meetings with residents in advance of submitting an application for a transfer station. Unfortunately, it became clear that an open, factual dialogue was going to be difficult to achieve," he added.

Evanston, meanwhile, is fighting its own battle with a waste transfer station company. Early last year, Veolia Solid Waste Midwest filed suit against the city in the Cook County Circuit Court, alleging that Evanston is imposing illegal fees and harassing the company through unfair inspections, among other things, in attempt to get the company to leave the city.

The waste hauler began operating the transfer station at 1711 Church St. in July 2000, and throughout the day, garbage trucks haul waste to the station, where it is loaded into tractor-trailers and driven away for disposal.

According to the 43-page lawsuit, a pattern of harassment by Evanston began four years ago, after the Church Street Village town homes were built in the 1600 block of Church Street and residents began complaining about the smell.

Last week Evanston City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said the lawsuit is ongoing, and he also dismissed suggestions that Evanston officials have touted opening a Morton Grove transfer station as a viable alternative to the Veolia transfer station.

"It's just not true," he said.

In the last few weeks, Maddex and others have been working in Morton Grove to spread the word that Lakeshore Waster Services was considering opening the transfer station, a move that they said would attract rodents and have a negative impact on the quality of life in the nearby neighborhoods and Niles West High School, which is also near to where the facility would have been built.

"We're not the ones that want to take credit for it," said Maddex. "We spread the word out. In the end what happened is that the people spoke, and Lakeshore Waste listened."

In his statement, Connell left open the possibility of approaching the community about another business use for the property. He did not give a specific timetable, but said that Lakeshore would reach out to Morton Grove officials and residents to explore the possibility of an alternate concept before submitting it to the village.

Maddex said he had heard that the company may be considering opening a recycling center, something that he said the community may also reject.

"They have mentioned before that one of their thoughts is a recycling center. That is a modern day word for sorting garbage," he said. "It means increased truck traffic and all those things that go along with a transfer station.

"It just depends on what they're going to recycle, and how it's going to be done," he added. "We're opening to listening to them, and we've actually been trying to schedule a meeting with the owner."

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