Wednesday, Utica officials unanimously agreed to let the quarrying company annex two more parcels, zoned agricultural, and to grant special use permits that permit quarrying and mining.
Unimin plant manager Bill McTee appeared before a joint meeting of the village board and planning commission and said the new acreage would in no way alter the annexation agreement reached with the village in 2011.
That year, Unimin announced a $31 million expansion that would bring 1,700 acres into Utica — along with up to 40 new jobs and $10 million more to Utica’s tax base — and make the company more competitive. Wednesday’s annexation increases the 2011 acreage by an additional 5 percent.
Wednesday’s proposal drew a few barbed questions from spectators still chafing from Illinois Sand’s separate (and more controversial) annexation last year, but ultimately no statements in opposition.
Trustee Matt Jereb said he voted against Illinois Sand’s annexation but would support supplementing Unimin’s expansion.
“There’s a major difference between what this petitioner (Unimin) has done and the last petitioner (Illinois Sand) has done,” he said.
Unimin’s expansion has, to date, generated $100,000 in building permit fees. Additionally, Utica is expected to reap $25,000 more in annual municipal taxes.
Planning commissioner Willis Fry joined in the vote to recommend annexation but said he’d like to see Utica work out even more favorable agreements going forward.
“I don’t think that everyone (seeking to do business in Utica) is going to be the good neighbor that Unimin has been,” Fry said.
Tom Collins can be reached at (815) 223-3206 Ext. 130 or email@example.com.