Locating a waste transfer station in an industrial area of Morton Grove could bring the village $60,000 or more a year while not disturbing residents with noise or smells, said Ryan Horne, village manager pro tem.
Morton Grove has been mentioned as a place for a waste transfer station, mainly by Evanston Mayor Tisdahl, who because it's located close to residents' homes and Evanston Township High School.
The Morton Grove location would be at 6132 W. Oakton, in an industrial area adjacent to the train tracks on the east, in a deep lot with little frontage on Oakton Street. It's a half-mile west of Niles West High School.
"It truly will create a win-win situation," Horne said. "We'll have a better use of a vacant spot in our industrial area, we'll be collecting a host benefit fee, and they'll provide services to our residents, such as electronics recycling. We don't have that now."
Some commenters oppose idea
When Niles-Morton Grove Patch posted the initial story announcing that the waste transfer station might be located in Morton Grove, commenters on the Patch Facebook page said:
- "Unacceptable. Evanston doesn't want ETHS kids exposed, but they don't care about West's kids."
- "I remember when a casino couldn't go in near the HS. Now a trash site?"
- "I'm sick and tired of Evanston bringing all of their trash here."
If it flies, will take 6 to 12 months
The process of opening a waste transfer station is lengthy and requires at least six months to obtain a state permit, Horne said.
About a month ago, the Village of Morton Grove completed a very preliminary document, called a host benefit agreement, with Lakeshore Waste Services, a company which already operates at 6132 W. Oakton Street.
However, Teresa Liston, Morton Grove's village attorney, said that document just lays out some understandings in case Lakeshore decides to pursue the idea of a waste transfer station and apply for a permit with the Illinois Environmental Protection Administration.
"What's commonplace now for (solid waste) companies is, before they've even applied (for a state permit), to say, we're thinking about it, we'd like to negotiate with you a host benefit agreement. Here are the benefits we would give Morton Grove."
The agreement says that Lakeshore would control noise and nuisances, that it would keep its trucks off streets and make sure its operation has little impact on residents, she said.
IEPA standards are stricter now
Horne reiterated that idea by saying state standards for opening a waste transfer station are much stricter now than when Evanston's Veolia station opened 30 years ago, and a new station in Morton Grove would have to meet them.
Liston characterized the host benefit agreement as premature, and said no one knows if Lakeshore is even going to apply for the state permit.
If it does, Lakeshore and the village will have to undergo a very formal siting process with the Illinois EPA.
A transparent, formal hearing process
"The village board has to sit as a jury. An adjudication officer will preside," Horne said. "Very regimented standards have to be followed.
"The whole process is transparent, and residents have to be very comfortable with it."
Liston said Lakeshore would hire and pay for an attorney and consultant for the village staff, in order to provide expertise for them. She would be the attorney for the elected officials.
"We have to hire consultants to know what to do to protect ourselves. Lakeshore pays for all those consultants," she said, even if the village decides to say no to the proposal.
Liston is asking reporters not to question elected officials about their opinions on the plan, saying it's important they not prejudge it before the formal hearing.
Village would take in at least $60,000
As for the benefits, Assistant Village Manager Peter Falcone said that, according to host benefit agreement, for the first three years, the village would receive 50 cents per ton of garbage.
"We'd get at least $60,000 per year," he said.
Starting in the fourth year, the tonnage fee would increase to $1 per ton, plus the consumer prices index, which Falcone said could bring it to $1.10 or $1.15 per ton.
"If you weigh the risk and the reward," Horne said, "I think it works out as a positive."