It appears that a proposed Fisher Lake sewer project may not happen in Lockport Township in view of a petition submitted in May by opponents of the sewer.
In action during its June meeting Monday evening (June 13th), the Lockport Township Board voted unanimously to accept a “Petition Objecting to the Proposed Fisher Lake Sewer Project and Special Assessment District” as presented.
The move came following a report from Township Assessor Jaime Hutson who had been directed by Supervisor Ray Signorello and the township attorney to determine if the property owned by the signers of the petition constitutes 20 percent of the area of the proposed Special Assessment District. Hutson shared a packet of information he prepared in response to the assignment, reviewed the process he used to make a determination, and said, “I do certify that 20 percent of the signers of the petition constitute 20 or more percent of the special assessment district.” (Jaime_Hutson_audio clip – 1:59 – 1.81 MB)
The 20 percent mark refers to a provision in Public Act 188 of 1954 cited by sewer opponents that says a township board may proceed to carry out such an improvement “unless written objections to the improvement are filed with the township board . . . by the record owners of land constituting more than 20 percent of the total land area in the special assessment district.”
The act further states that, “If written objections are filed . . . or if the township board requires a petition before proceeding, the township board shall not proceed with the improvement until there is filed with the board a petition signed . . . by the record owners of land constituting more than 50 percent of the total land area in the special assessment district as finally established by the township board.”
During deliberations on the matter, Signorello said, “Public Act 188 clearly states that 20 percent of the landowners – if you get a petition with 20 percent of the landowners, that’s it, that’s all it takes to stop it in Lockport Township.”
Signorello reiterated the point in a post-meeting interview with the River Country Journal in which he said, “Under Public Act 188, it is pretty clear that if 20 percent of the people sign a petition that the project must be stopped, and they had well over 20 percent of the land area, pretty much brings the project to an end. The only way it could be overridden is if you could get 51 percent of the land area to sign a petition in favor of it and pretty much it looks like from the map that that would be difficult to do in Lockport Township.” (Ray_Signorello_audio clip – :32)
Harry Tice, who has lobbied against the sewer project, said the map generated by opponents shows about 23 acres that don’t want it and 12 acres that do want it. Tice also submitted another sheet Monday evening regarding an additional half acre of property in the opposed category.
Sewer opponents in Park Township submitted a similar petition to the Park Township Board during its May meeting.