Residents and Non-Residents Joined Together to "Stop the Ski Dump"
On September 19, 2022 over 220 Round Lake residents and non-residents attended the village board meeting held at John T Magee Middle School. On the agenda for this evening was a scheduled vote of three separate ordinances; one to authorize the agreement for construction of the Round Lake Ski Hill proposed by Dan Powell of CHDS, LLC, one to annex the property at Fairfield and Route 120 owned by the Light Family Partnership, and one to change the zoning to allow for a commercial purpose.
All three proposed ordinances failed with a 4-3 vote. Trustees Schottland, Patel, Rodriguez, and Amann voted against the annexation agreement while Trustees Foy and Law voted in favor. Mayor Kraly, a supporter of the project, did not need to vote as a tie did not occur.
The Ski Hill project is dead, but the idea of economic growth at that location and others remain. We need solutions, in partnership with actual developers who have past histories of success to work with us. But we also need to choose projects which are beneficial and responsible not just to Round Lake residents and taxpayers, but to the available land, the surrounding environment, and the neighbors and communities nearby.
Round Lake Community To Do List
Learn How it Happened: How did something like this Ski Dump sneak up on us so we can prevent this from happening again?
What Happens Now at Wilson Rd: What does the lawsuit mean for the village if CHDS walks away and leaves us with the clean up? NEW: FOIA Clean Up Costs
Where Do We Go From Here: How do we stay awake, stay informed, and stay involved in our local government?
How It Almost Happened
Busy Lives. Outdated Communication
Work, school, feed the kids, pay bills, repeat. Life is busy and stressful, so keeping a watch on local government isn't likely to be high on anyone's priorty list.
There are two main places local government makes decisions which affect you: Planning & Zoning meetings, and Village Board meetings which are usually followed by a Committee of the Whole where various committees (police, public works, community development, finance) give their reports on current or upcoming business.
Keeping a watch on the posted agendas, listening to the audio for recent meetings, and attending these meetings in person are some of the ways we will work to stay awake and stay involved in local government.
But communication is also a key factor. Round Lake has a village website. And that is all. While social media can be used for good or evil, we choose good. Round Lake should have a village run Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feed to push out news and calandar events to the public, share announcements and encourage positive community involvement.
What's Next for Wilson Road?
Dan Powell is still the owner of CHDS, LLC and at this time, he continues to lease the 57 acre property at Wilson and 120 from the Village of Round Lake. However, on August 15, 2022 the State of Illinois filed a lawsuit against CHDS.
The legal case has finally concluded and Mr. Powell has given up the permitted portion of his property which was dedicated to landscape or compost recycling as well as the payment of fines. However, there is more at stake here than one operator simply closing down one section of his business and pivoting to focus on the rest. CHDS continues to take in more than it sells, leading to larger and larger piles of dirt, debris, and mulch, increasing the fire hazard as we have recently seen play out, and attempt to burn construction materials in violation of local ordinances for which Fox Lake Fire Protection District has responded and cited the business on more than one occasion.
We need to work now to prepare the site and our village for an outcome which may see us as taxpayers holding the bag on extensive clean up costs of $1.5 million according to FOIA documents.