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Robbins to halt work on proposed quarry pending sheriff’s probe

Charles White porch his Robbins home which has been family since 1958. He would have give up his mineral rights

Charles White on the porch of his Robbins home, which has been in the family since 1958. He would have to give up his mineral rights for mining under his property for the planned Robbins quarry. | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 4, 2014 6:19AM



The development of the proposed Robbins quarry and underground mine has been suspended pending the completion of Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s investigation into the project, the SouthtownStar has learned.

Village attorney Emanuel Chris Welch wrote a letter to all attorneys involved in the project on Nov. 27 telling them to cease all weekly conference calls, home appraisals and meetings with residents. The Robbins village board met Nov. 26 and agreed to halt the project in light of Dart’s investigation, he wrote.

“The Village welcomes this review as it is indeed imperative that the public has confidence in the project,” wrote Welch, who is also a state representative based out of Westchester.

The village’s decision came in response to a letter Dart’s office sent out to all attorneys involved with the project on Nov. 21. The letter urged them to delay the development until after he completed his investigation on or before Jan. 17, 2014.

“We’re very pleased,” said Cara Smith, Dart’s chief of policy and communication. “Hopefully this will give people a peace of mind while we review this deal.”

The SouthtownStar first reported that Robbins entered into a deal with Riverside-based ALM Resources in May to create a limestone quarry on 60 acres, followed by a 169-acre underground mine, asphalt and concrete plants and a therapy horse ranch. More than 50 homes need to be acquired as part of the deal.

ALM Resources wanted to acquire the land through a “quick-take” process, using Robbins’ power of eminent domain, which allows it to take private property for the public good. Such a process requires legislative approval, and many residents feared such a bill could pass in the Legislature’s upcoming veto session.

However, the village board voted to reject the measure a day after a volatile town hall meeting between the developers and residents.

Dart last month announced an investigation into the project. At the time, he urged Robbins officials to suspend the project, saying the deal was clouded by political contributions to elected officials as well as vague contract terms among other concerns.

While the project appears to be on hold, a group in support of the limestone development called the Citizens of Robbins for Economic Advancement and Upward Movement is set to host a public meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Robbins Church of Christ, 3647 Midlothian Turnpike.

A flyer from the group states the meeting is a result of “various stories about an alleged development scheme.”

“Many of the community leaders and local business owners believe that these articles are full of scare tactics designed to squelch the much-needed progress in Robbins,” the flyer states.

The flyer also states the group will answer community questions about the need for the development, the rush to push the development through, and the possibility of negotiating the development agreement to “get the things that Robbins residents want and need.”

Darrell Mitchell, a group member who also owns Omega Tax and Accounting in the village, said the purpose of the meeting is to make sure “people have all the right information,” about the project. Mitchell said the group, which has about 15-16 members, has no affiliation with ALM Resources.

“I’m one of the concerned citizens and business owners who have a concern about the economic state of the village,” Mitchell said. “We don’t want this to be political.”



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