Saia update: The Saia saga will continue for one more month, but with April 11 as the date that Mayor Gary Grasso, Village Trustees and Chestnut Hills residents admit must be a final end, forced annexation will take place if an agreement can't be reached in the interim.
A new twist from previous weeks, Grasso said that part of the reason he recommended a continuance was his schedule since the last meeting did not allow him to meet with or speak at any length with Scott Hargadon, legal representation for Saia.
Although Grasso did not hear from the land owner Robert Rogulic — the main hold out in negotiations — Hargadon has been working with both the village and Rogulic to hopefully iron something out.
“An agreement is in everyone's best interest and we will work to get it done in the next month,” Hargadon said, addressing the board.
Negotiations hit a stalemate early in the year when the land owner asked that as part of an annexation agreement, the property remain a truck depot (a special use after annexation) in perpetuity.
When the mayor first mentioned a continuance, Trustee Bob Grela quickly announced his objection to the idea of any further negotiations with either party.
“I am totally opposed to any continuation on this,” Grela said. “A particular use for 30 years isn't ridiculous, it's outrageous.”
Grasso renewed his argument that while a forced annexation might seem like an end to the issue, it could prolong any changes for years while the matter sits in litigation. During that idle time, he said Saia will have no obligation or motivation to construct any of the sound mitigation measures already agreed upon.
Grasso said that the three remaining options to residents and the board are forced annexation, an annexation agreement and a development agreement through forced annexation, which would allow the village to work with Saia despite the land owner's participation.
“I don't see what postponing this for another thirty days will accomplish,” said Chestnut Hills resident Steve Less. “If this is going to continue I hope we have an absolute deadline of April 11.”
Grela voted against a motion to continue to the April 11 meeting and Trustee Bob Sodikoff abstained. Trustee Dwight DeClouette was absent.