Morton Grove Transfer Station Discussion Moves Forward

Residents are concerned about increased pollution and health hazards as an overbearing cost of the proposition, village administrator plans to address the issue at the Aug. 13 board meeting.


Lakeshore Waste Services has expressed interest in building a transfer station at its corporate headquarters located at 6132 W. Oakton St. near the intersection of Lehigh Ave. in the village's industrial park.

Concerned residents, meanwhile, are teaming up to oppose the idea, based on concerns over health hazards, increased pollution and the negative effect such a project could have on property values in the village. 

A tranfer station is a temporary processing site where waste is brought in by smaller trucks and held there until it is tranferred by larger vehicles, to landfills.

"This is a more economical method of transporting waste," according to Peter Falcone, assistant to the village administrator.  

Residents aware of the potential project have formed a group called Citizens to Stop Morton Grove Transfer Station.

They have organized to the extent that they are circulating a flyer with information about the tenative agreement reached between the village and Lakeshore in March of 2012, to proceed forward with the initial steps toward making the project a reality.  

Resident concerns include an influx of "varmints with parasites, that can be transferred to humans.....it is a health hazard per a Northwestern University study on waste transfer stations and health issues," the flyer reads. 

An increase in the smell of garbage also is another potential result residents are distressed about. 

"Residents should be aware that garbage will not sit in this location indefinitely; the floor of the proposed station would have to be cleared a minimum of every 24 hours, and for productivity, it is in their [Lakeshore] best interest to move it as quickly as possible," Falcone said. 

As far as rodents, Falcone said there have been issues with rats for the last 20 years in Morton Grove, and that the health department continues to deal with the issue. 

"Yes, rats can come in on the trucks with the garbage, but they will also leave with the trucks heading out to the landfill," Falcone said. 

The company would be required to conduct monthly pest control activities, and follow-through with necessary treatments to abate rodents and pests. The village also would conduct regular inspections, Falcone said. 

There are potential benefits to the proposed transfer station, according to Village Administrator Ryan Horne, though the company has not applied to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency yet.

That would be a necessary first step before the process could even begin. 

"A Host Benefit Agreement between the village and Lakeshore requires the company pay 50-cents per ton of waste they transport, and the minimum amount of revenue each year would be $60,000," said Horne.

That amount would raise to $1 per ton after the first three years of the agreement. 

"Not a very good payout for ruining the environment and everything else that comes with it for our community," the flyer reads. 

Horne admits the amount is relatively small, but said more realistic estimates actually put revenue between $250,000 and $400,000 yearly. 

"It is in part, about money, the resident's money," Horne said. "When businesses come in or increase their operations, it does take financial stress off of property owners." 

Meanwhile, the citizens group also warns in the flyer that another byproduct of a transfer station is to lower property values, while increasing truck traffic. "Why would anyone want to locate here with all the negatives that go with the station?" 

Horne said, in the meantime, the idea is a long way from coming to fruition. 

"Lakeshore would have to go through a very rigorous process, there would be a required site approval by the village which would take a minimum of 180 days, in addition to approvals from the IEPA, traffic studies and legal requirements to be met," Horne said. 

There also are quality of life issues to be considered, Horne said.

"Though it would be located 1,000 feet from any residential areas, residents have expressed distaste for a transfer station being located on this property" Horne said. 

Property owners within a few hundred feet of the proposed project would be noticed by the village if the project were to move forward, Horne said, and all residents would be invited to express their opinions at a required public hearing. 

If all conditions were met, the issue would in the end, be decided by the village board of trustees

Horne said he plans to address the issue at the Monday, Aug. 13 board meeting due to continual concerns from residents, to clear up "some misinformation out there," he said.  

The  board of trustees meets the second and fourth Mondays of every month. The meetings are also televised on Channel 6. 

For more information, visit the Village of Morton Grove website. 

Tony Kovacs August 10, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Mark, Sherwin is right for the wrong reason. On this issue the dump is absolutely the wrong way for the Village to go. All leaders (you too) should be opposing it and not weighing revenue or counting how many rats will come and go! But he is not credible because he is so partisan and anti-current Village government as his rants on Tilted Kilt show. And readers need to weigh your words as you are a leader of Action Party and not really objective (and that is understandable).
Mark V. Matz August 10, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Thanks for your comments. I know you (and your wife) are both fair, open minded and active citizens who volunteer your time to help our community; our village needs more people like you. My friend, you may be right about the transfer station; but I want to hear the presentation by the village first so my opinion is based on as much factual information that I can acquire about the topic (so do hope to see you on Monday). Perhaps the biggest difference between Sherwin and I are his attempts to incite people to follow his opinions while I encourage them to look at the information to make their own decisions, confident in the dedication and community spirit of those who were elected to represent us. I am proud of the Action Party and those involved because like you...they too are people who give back to the community. I'm sure you've noticed that most of time when I write here is because of my desire to counter Mr. D's constant and unsubstaniated criticism of people who are trying to do what's best for our community. People aren't perfect, all we can do is our best and try to learn along the way.
sherwin dubren August 10, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Mr. Matz is the excuses man. I too think people should attend Monday's meeting. Not to hear how this Waste company is going to perform miracles to keep the stink and rats out of Morton Grove, but to send a message to the village board that residents will not sit back and allow this to come in. I expect the salesman/owner of the trash company to put on a big show and try to sell us on how he is going to do this project seemlessly, but I think there is no way he can do this. Besides, do we need a fleet of garbage trucks buzzing up and down Oakton at all hours. Anyone ever drive behind a garbage truck?
Mark V. Matz August 10, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Look forward to seeing you Monday night Sherwin! But maybe you won't have to attend as your last statement seems to have already predicted the presentation and the outcome. Must be nice to be so omniscient! As to your last point about following a garbage truck...I fully understand what that is like as I usually have to follow up with what you've been writing. Have a nice weekend!
sherwin dubren August 10, 2012 at 05:33 PM
You can always tell when the Action Party is worried. They send in their professional excuse man Mr. Matz to try and bail themselves out. I will be at the meeting to hear what kind of hocus pocus this trash company is proposing and add to what I hope is large crowd of residents in opposition to this plan. Residents intending to speak should follow the draconian rules of this administration and sign in ahead of time.
Mark V. Matz August 10, 2012 at 06:18 PM
I always enjoy your spin on things Sherwin. Seems you always have a the answers about things before they happen or know what other people are thinking. Not sure what voices you're listening too, but look forward to hearing what you have to say along with everyone else on Monday. While I don't expect Mr. D will allow me the last word..again; have a great weekend and we'll see you at 7pm at Village Hall on the 13th. Oh by the way, the "draconian rules" he's referring to are that anyone who wants to speak just has to give their name to the clerk so they can be called to the podium so nobody gets missed...how horrible!
sherwin dubren August 10, 2012 at 06:46 PM
I am not seeking the last word, but I do think the problem with signing in should be explained. The former two mayors had no such restrictions on allowing people to speak at a meeting. You simply raised your hand, were acknowledged, and came to the podium stating your name and address. This current system does not allow one to make any last minute decisions to speak, or if they are allowed, they are made to feel like they are given a special favor to talk without signing up first. Not horrible, but certainly annoying.
Mark V. Matz August 10, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Glad to hear you're not looking for the last word! The current method still allows anyone wishing to speak to do so even if they haven't filled out a form prior (and before the meeting starts the clerk reminds everyone about it). But he also makes sure that if there is anyone wishing to speak who came in late or didn't let him know that they can do so under Agenda or Non Agenda Resident Comments. No one has ever been denied the right to speak that I have witnessed, and I attend a lot of meetings and also watch them on cable if I can't attend myself. Funny no one has made mention of the fact that D219 requires a couple of days notice in advance and in writing to be allowed to address that body.
SuburbanMary August 10, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Not all of our neighboring communities allow their residents to address the Village Board twice during a meeting (to both agenda items and non-agenda items), as does the Morton Grove Village Board. In Skokie, residents can only comment at the end of the meeting, right before it adjourns. If residents wish to speak to agenda items in Niles, they must also sign up in advance with the Clerk. This is done in many municipalities, partly to keep order and make sure no one is overlooked who wishes to have a say. I would also think it would help the secretary who takes the minutes at the meeting to get the correct spelling of a speaker's name for the official record.
Mr. Matz, other than you it seems like everyone that has taken time to comment has been opposed to the garbage site. I am not sure that you'll get the facts you’re hoping for, you may need to rely on your nose to guide you. If you would like to think the Illinois EPA is an authority on pollution, you may want to consider the way they teetered their decision on the water issue in Sauk Village. They deemed the water polluted, and then said it was not, and then a couple of day’s later, cancer-causing vinyl chloride was being removed from the water. This back and forth occurred within a week. Do you want to believe the information from Lakeshore Waste; every waste station that tries to open has faced opposition from "locals". These owners share strategies and probably share affluent law firms and high paid, so called, experts. I’m sure that they have their rebuttals to a science and have the ability to paint a pretty picture. How about our Asst. Village Administrator that is quoted above saying “Yes, rats can come in on the trucks with the garbage, but they will also leave with the trucks heading out to the landfill”; well the first half of his statement is correct. The only statement that I believe to be true was from Josh Connell, owner of Lakeshore Waste; in a meeting with the Village, Josh Connell and The Citizens to Stop Morton Grove Transfer Station, Josh stated that he can’t guarantee that there won’t be odors from the site. Thanks for your honesty Josh.
Mark V. Matz August 11, 2012 at 06:45 PM
In review of this thread, it seems about 20 individuals made comments; some with a sarcastic bent and others more analytical; I'd say the majority expressed concerns over the transfer station...not all. But with a population of over 20 thousand, this is hardly a proportional or representative data set. That being said, this is definately an emotional issue for many that calls for a complete and thorough investigation that must be shared with the public. Monday night's meeting will be the start of that process I feel. When information is shared with citizens, and everyone's input is expressed, it is my belief that the Board will do what's right for Morton Grove. I was not privy to the meeting you referenced, but no sane person will say garbage doesn't produce odors, what we need to learn more about is Mr. Connell's plan to mitigate that issue, but only IF this goes forward.
sherwin dubren August 11, 2012 at 07:04 PM
I think that 20 individuals responding to Patch is more than the usual responses we see. You cannot dismiss them as a minority opinion. We cannot expect everyone in Morton Grove to respond on Patch. As this garbage plan evolves, I think we will see more concerned residents voiceing their opinions against it. Some of the responders do not even live in the immediate vicinity of the planned facility. I think the village could have done more to publicize this issue. This facility would affect the entire village in terms of health, property values, and added traffic on Oakton. The only way to mitigate this proposal is to dismiss it. Evanston did so. They don't want their own garbage hanging around and we should feel the same.
Mark V. Matz August 11, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Twenty people commenting on a story is good...but there have been stories on Patch with more. Everybody's opinion should be heard, but instead of predicting what people 'might' say, we should wait to hear what they 'actually' comment on. As for the village doing more to get the word out, I hope we'll hear what their efforts were on Monday (and someone should ask if they don't hear that information). An old saying is "ignorance of the law is no defence" - to paraphrase that, "not listening to what's being shared doesn't mean it wasn't publicized".
John Byrne August 11, 2012 at 10:24 PM
I'm not trying to be rude or snarky, but why aren't the rats going out with the garbage? For example, loud noisy garbage truck drives up to container, grabs it, dumps into garbage truck and drives to Morton Grove. Dumps it, garbage is put into a bigger truck (front end loader? conveyer belt? 2 guys with shovels?) and drives to landfill. If we all agree that rats like garbage, then why don't they like it when it hits our zip code? Are these some breed of intelligent rodent with a heightened sense of direction or do they own GPS units?
sherwin dubren August 11, 2012 at 10:33 PM
There have been longer exchanges on Patch, usually between Mr. Matz and myself. However, I have never seen such overwhelming opposition to a plan by so many different people. Mr. Matz, like his favorite Action Party is just trying to sweep this one under the carpet. Maybe, if nobody's looking, they can push this plan through. Mr. Matz is now up to get the last word in.
Tom Maddex August 11, 2012 at 10:33 PM
I'm sure Mr. Connell has a plan to mitgate the odor issue and others. As "Citizen" stated, the waste services companies have rebuttals for every issue and will paint a pretty picture. If they can't cover the stink, the village will assess fines, I guess that's why the village Administrator considers this a win win situation. What people are not talking about is that the garbage that Lakeshore wants to transfer at Oakton & Lehigh is not from Morton Grove, Lakeshore was awarded the rufuse contract for Skokie, that's why they moved here in the first place, to be close to Skokie. The Morton Grove waste refuse contract is not with Lakeshore, it is with Groot. I'm with Sherwin, the only way to mitigate this proposal is to dismiss it.
Jim Aparo August 11, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Wait a minute, garbage smells and is a health hazard? Draws vermin and disease? We should ask our elected officials to take a stance on this. We have the right to know their opinion on this sensitive issue with the election coming up. Tell me candidate X, are you aware that garbage has been found around or near every home in our Village. What are your plans to put a stop to this drain on resources? In fact, sources tell me that you have garbage in your own home!
John Byrne August 11, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Yes, Peter, tell us more about these magically rats with a preference for out-bound trucks. Everyone knows that rats can only tolerate one truck ride in their life.
John Byrne August 11, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Hey Mr. Administrator, I've got a great idea on how we can waste money on litigation. Look for ways to violate State Law. For example, that whole IEPA requirement to not prejudge this kind of business, just ignore it. In fact, why don't you also discourage certain people to just not bother to try to rent or own in our town.
Joe Holden August 13, 2012 at 01:27 AM
People of Morton Grove have to take a stand!! Village Hall Meeting Monday at 7:30PM!! BE THERE!! BRING YOUR FAMILIES, FRIENDS, AND ANYONE WHO IS OPPOSED TO THIS!! It is up to us to not let this happen!!!
Joe Holden August 13, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Actually there are residents right down the street!! And how about the kids who go to school at Niles West??
The meeting is at 7:00 not 7:30. We don't want anyone to be late, infact get there early. HEAR YE, HEAR YE, COME ONE, COME ALL.
Cynthia S August 13, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Let’s all stop and take a breath before “storming the castle” tonight at the village board meeting. People have some very strong feelings about garbage and a transfer station, clearly. But the ONLY way a productive discussion can take place, and the ONLY way a decision can be made that is in the best interest of the village, is with calm discussion. Planning to go to a meeting to scream and demand will do nothing to forward any message. A calm and respectful presentation facts and concerns, will. Let’s clear up a couple things – it’s NOT a dump. A dump is where garbage is, well… dumped. And it stays. Like an open air landfill that’s never covered up. This is a transfer station. Garbage comes in, and garbage goes out. It does not remain there stinking and rotting forever. Call it what it is. Repeating the word “dump” makes you sound like you don’t know what you are talking about, and you lose credibility, thus losing your message altogether. For those projecting plummeting real estate values because people on Metra will tell everyone that there is a dump in Morton Grove, think calmly for a moment what the huge landfill did for Northbrook. No plummeting real estate values (their average value is much higher than Morton Grove’s) and they turned it into a community amenity–a public golf course. Yes, you can’t do that with a transfer station, but it serves as just one example that garbage by its very nature will not destroy property values. (1 of 4)
Cynthia S August 13, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Please stop using the Evanston transfer station as an example. This is a decades-old station that was built under very different environmental codes with very different technology, and is located next to a residential area. This is a very different situation. It would be much better to find some examples of transfer stations built in the past 5 – 10 years and find out how those are working for the municipalities where they are located. Everyone’s calling up “varmints with parasites” and odors. Find some facts that demonstrate that there is a significant increase in rodents and or odors near these newer transfer stations. And compare that to the rodents and odors found in every alley in this village where people carelessly pile garbage around and on top of the garbage bins, attracting rats, raccoons, skunks, and many other animals to our back yards. Oftentimes we are create own rat haven by our own carelessness. (2 of 4)
Cynthia S August 13, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Is there anything good about a transfer station? I have no idea. I do know when I throw out my trash, I expect it to be taken away and go somewhere. And I would like it to be done in a responsible way that has as little a negative impact on the environment as possible. Is our current system doing this? Would a transfer station help with this? I don’t know. I have no idea if this is done efficiently, or if the transfer station would make this more efficient, or make it possible to have better processing of garbage so less goes in landfills that shouldn’t be there. Maybe so, maybe not. I don’t know, and that's the whole point. From the postings, it sounds like nobody here does either – because we haven’t collected or heard all the fact. And it will be hard to get to the facts if everyone keeps screaming and making accusations, and operating from a base of fear and ignorance. Fear of the unknown, and ignorance of all the facts and information. (3 of 4)
Cynthia S August 13, 2012 at 02:44 PM
So, as I suggested at the outset of this posting… everyone, take a deep breath and calm down. Shake off your fear and anger. Go find some facts. Think about what specific questions you need answered to understand this transfer station and its possible impact. Present those facts, ask calm questions of village staff and officials so they can go get those facts and answer those questions. What we learn may support everything people are afraid of. Or, what we learn may surprise us and we may realize this is good for our community. Or we may learn something different altogether. But screaming and accusing gets us nowhere, and only continues to divide us as a community, and it makes awful incidents like what happened to the Muslim Community Center possible. We are better than that. We have to be, or we have much bigger things to fear than garbage. (4 of 4 - I'm done.)
grandpa August 13, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Shame on you Cynthia S. for bringing reason and intelligence to this discussion! Wheres the fun in that? Where's the political hay to be made there? Calm, reasoned, intelligent discourse? How boring.
sherwin dubren August 13, 2012 at 04:56 PM
I see no difference between the present location of the transfer station in Evanston and the proposed location in Morton Grove. The age of the Evanston station is not pertinent here. If Cynthia S. is concerned about what happens to her garbage, again this is not pertinent because this is Evanston garbarge, not Morton Grove garbage that is involved. The owners of the transfer station admit there will be a smell from their facility. Rats do get into garbage that will be transported to Morton Grove. How much clearer do we have to make things? Residents have a perfect right to oppose this plan. By the way, where does Cynthia live? Probably on the opposite side of Morton Grove where she hopes the rats and odor wont reach her.
MJ September 05, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Cynthia, Dumps are dumps no matter what fancy names you give them. The dump will have negative effect on the health of residence nearby specially kids. The village may make a small chunk of money out of this deal but it opens itself to potential liability.
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