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North Aurora mine expansion approved

Updated: October 26, 2013 6:33AM

NORTH AURORA — LaFarge North America can begin mining underneath the east side of an L-shaped Commonwealth Edison right of way that borders the north and east sides of its 60-year-old mine, the Village Board has decided.

Trustees unanimously approved the special use permit amendment and annexed the entire 21-acre Commonwealth Edison right of way into the village, with trustees Laura Curtis and Chris Faber absent. Because the action requires a supermajority of five yes votes, Village President Dale Berman also voted.

Homeowners on Chesterfield Lane, a few blocks northeast of the stone mine, for years have opposed letting LaFarge expand its operations. They maintain that the mine produces dust that covers their properties and that underground dynamiting threatens to crack their foundations, sewer pipes and a high-pressure natural gas line that serves the subdivision.

“There are real risks concerning the 30-inch gas pipeline,” asserted Chesterton Homeowners Association attorney Nick Nolton at an Oct. 17, 2011, Village Board meeting, before the board approved LaFarge’s third 20-year mining permit. “Then there’s the quality of life that these residents have had to live with. People in this community do feel the blasts. Their houses shake. To say the dust in the air is barely noticeable is just not true.”

No Chesterfield residents spoke at Monday’s meeting.

LaFarge, which conducts underground mining on two levels with a system of bedrock pillars holding up the ground, plans to extend both levels into the Commonwealth Edison property that abuts the mine’s east border, said Commonwealth Edison attorney Bruce Goldsmith.

Officials agreed to establish a no-mining zone along the north border of the mine, along with the east side of the northeast corner, to keep mining operations at least 1,000 feet away from the nearest home, explained North Aurora Community Development Director Mike Toth.

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