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Channahon officials working to offset tree threat

Published: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 3:12 p.m. CST

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CHANNAHON — The village of Channahon officially recognized Arbor Day this April 26 with a proclamation by the mayor.

Tree board member Fred Henize also presented the board a GPS map of all the parkway trees in Channahon, including their location and variety, completed by a service hired from grant money awarded to the village.

The survey included all parkway trees, trees on village property, and trees along major thoroughfares such as U.S. 6. Not included in the survey were trees on private property or on land owned by other taxing bodies, such as the park and school districts.

The bad news was that of the 7,709 public trees in Channahon, almost 30 percent of them, or 2,195, are ash trees, which are being threatened by the arrival of the insect, the emerald ash borer.

“It is in Channahon,” Henize said of the invasive bug. “There’s no way to stop these things. We can control it to eliminate the ash trees. ... Once they die, they are a safety hazard.”

In order for the village to be able to apply for grants to help them with removal and replacement of the ash trees, the village board approved a plan that would begin in about a year and last up to approximately 15 years. Ash trees that pose the greatest risk to public safety will be removed first. They will then be replaced with trees other than of the ash variety.

If the grant is received and the plan put in place, homeowners who have ash trees in their yards would be able to request the village remove the trees on condition the homeowner pays for a replacement tree.

There are treatments available for prevention of emerald ash borer damage, Henize said after the meeting, but without treatment, every ash tree in the village will die off.

ZONING POLICY

The board also heard first read on changing village zoning rules regarding accessory and ancillary structures. The new policy addresses questions that have come up in the recent past in situations where two adjacent lots are under single ownership.

Ancillary buildings on the secondary lot are to be detached, contain no driveway to the structure, do not involve the conduct of any business, located in the rear of the lot, and must be of the same style and color as the home.

KETONE PLAN

Also, the board considered a request by Ketone Partners for a concept plan on the former Material Services property south of the intersection of U.S. 6 and Bluff Road.

Ketone would like to resume mining on the 236 acres for around 10-15 years, then develop a residential subdivision there with around 90 homes with a few commercial buildings. The development would surround a large lake.

Mining operations would be similar to those done at the site in the past, trustees were told, with no blasting. A berm will be installed on the west side of the property, and the north-south tree line will eventually be removed as mining advances.

As proposed by Village President Joe Cook, mining will also be reduced by one hour per day from November through March of each year when the leaves are off the trees to compensate for the noise that passes through to neighbors.

Trustee Judie Nash said her only concern was about the Bluff Road exit to the proposed subdivision being on the steep hill, which might hamper visibility.

Trustee Scott McMillin asked the Ketone Partners representative Kyle Schumacher if he would be willing to donate stone from the quarry to build a bicycle path in the village.

“We would be willing to have that discussion, yes,” Schumacher responded.

The board may take up the vote for the plan in May.

OTHER ACTION

The Channahon village board also:

• Congratulated public works employee Jeff Barrett on taking third place in this year’s Meter Madness competition sponsored by the Illinois State American Waterworks Association.

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