On Monday night Mayor Calderone and the other village council members approved the ordinance regarding establishing a special planned unit development (PUD) for the Farmington Foods site. Two major effects from this approval by means of a special agreement with factory owners, Franklin Investors LLC: Expansion of factory with new 13,000 square foot addition and elimination of ban on “cooking, distillation, processing and incineration of animal and vegetable products …”

The way by which the prohibition was eliminated was a very convoluted series of entries in the agreement. Relevant section is in part – the mayor and Village Council hereby finds that an ancillary use of ‘cooking of animal products on Subject Property meets the standards of 9-6-2B’ (PUD permitted uses). The next sentence provides for a further expansion of the cooking of animal products.

Bottom line, approve the PUD and trash the zoning code prohibition (as least for Farmington Foods).

This prohibition was especially relevant to the activities of this company. Unless Farmington Foods, founded in 1972, could prove it was somehow “grandfathered” (if challenged), it would not be able to continue to engage in this activity which is critical to its business. Such activity amongst others was a big source of odors complained about by residents in the vicinity of the plant.

It appears that this whole deal was well “cooked” ahead of time. It is hard to see what benefit actually is had by the village and its residents. Farmington Foods pays little in real estate tax and spews odor, noise, truck traffic, and visual blight across the north end of Forest Park.

Franklin Investors LLC consists of two persons: Albert A. LaValle and Anthony DiJohn. Following the close of the council meeting, Mayor Calderone said he had no idea who these people were, which he said was the case with people involved in non-residential industrial kinds of property.

The process leading up to the approval of this PUD ordinance appears very flawed and questionable. The required time for residents to learn what was going on and become involved was so short as to ensure their participation would be minimal and ineffective.

Further, a memorandum dated Nov. 10, prepared by Jo Ellen Charlton for the Village Plan Commission had notable omissions. Nowhere was the “use” issue described as a prohibited activity (in fact the word “cooking” was not even mentioned).

With regard to the Fiscal Impact Study comparing tax revenue with the added cost for services, the memo stated “Not Required.” Result was no discussion of the impact the semi-trailer traffic is having on nearby residential streets. Also no discussion of the impact on the water/sewer system from the factory. Last summer frequent work on Franklin Street sewers left manhole covers opened for hours.

Regarding impact on the neighborhood, the memo stated no official complaints in the last year regarding odor. No effort made to find out if problems exist. 

All of the above leaves you wondering why are the village officials doing what they are doing? How can it possibly be for the benefit of the town and its residents? Who is the real Boss?

Thomas Kovac

Forest Park

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