By Marianne Mueller, REPORTER

 In July, standing room only, crowds of area residents came out in strong opposition to a proposed asphalt plant. In that proposal petitioner Robert Schlichting requested the annexation of 42 acres to the Village of Rockton to be zoned as industrial use on the property of the Rockton Rock Quarry and was asking to be granted a Special Use Permit. Residents piled into the Village Hall where the Rockton Zoning Board of Appeals meeting took place. Opposition continued to grow as the Rockton Board of Trustee meeting heard from resident’s who expressed strong opposition to the proposal and stated reasons behind their stance. By early July Schlichting withdrew his request.

On Dec. 7 a new request is being placed before the Winnebago Country Board. Per a legal notice Northern Illinois Service Co., President Wayne Klinger has applied for a map amendment to rezone 32.58 acres from Ag.-Agricultural to IG-General Industrial. The property owner is Michael and Ann Black. The property is located between 11184 and 11298 N. Main St., home to the Rockton Rock Quarry and a portion is stated to be in Rockton Township.

The Rockton Coalition formed while discussions ensued about the first possible plant being built. With 1,972 members the Coalition is still going strong and remains strong in opposition of any asphalt plants being built. Reasons behind rejecting these projects include a release of toxic chemicals which could lead to health hazards (several which can cause cancer), truck traffic, possible environmental issues, sounds, emissions, strong odors, and close proximity of a matter of miles to Stephen Mack Middle School, Nygren Wetlands, the Rock River, Old River Hills Subdivision, and Hononegah High School. Many have said that they would move out of the Rockton area if a plant were to be built in that area. Concerns of property values decreasing have arisen.

If granted a Special Use Permit, a batch plant, asphalt concrete crushing and storage facility in the General Industrial District would be allowed. Petitioners claim that by today these plants run and operate under guide lines of improved methods and upgrades to ensure compliance with Governmental standards for safety and environmental protection. Asphalt produced is often used in road projects.

The public is welcome to attend the Rockton Village Board of Trustees meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday evening, Dec. 6. The Zoning Board of Appeals will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 5:30 p.m. in Room 303 of the Winnebago Country Administration Building, 404 Elm St. in Rockford.

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