Grayslake residents say board violated Open Meetings Act to quell gas station opposition
A group of Grayslake residents filed a complaint with the Illinois attorney general's office Thursday saying the village board violated the Open Meetings Act in an attempt to quell public opposition to a gas station proposal.
Village officials on Friday refuted several claims made by the residents' group, including that the board's Jan. 18 meeting was held via Zoom to suppress public comment on the gas station proposal targeted for the southwest corner of Lake Street and Belvidere Road.
The project was not up for a vote during that meeting. The proposal calls for the construction of a Casey's General Store with 14 fueling stations and a 4,540-square-foot convenience store where Lake Street Motors used car lot now stands.
It is scheduled to go before the village's plan commission and zoning board of appeals on Feb. 7, according to the village.
In the complaint, which was provided to the Daily Herald by a resident on Friday, the group claimed the decision to hold the Jan. 18 meeting on Zoom denied residents the opportunity to have their voices heard.
Village officials did not read out loud any of the 19 comments submitted by email during the meeting thereby preventing them from becoming part of the public record, according to the complaint.
"By deciding not to read any public comments, Mayor Taylor and the Board are silencing community members," the complaint reads.
Chase Muscato, a village administrative services manager, said Friday all of the comments were sent to village board members before the meeting and also have been placed on the village website for public review. Muscato said the decision to hold the meeting on Zoom was based on current pandemic conditions.
Opposition to the proposed gas station emerged soon after the plan was made public. Green yard signs bearing the name of the residents group, "Yes to Grayslake, No to Casey's Gas Station," began popping up earlier this month. The group has attracted more than 260 followers to its Facebook page so far.
Although the group is mentioned in the complaint letter, a spokesperson told the Daily Herald it was independent village residents who lodged the complaint.
The attorney general's office did not immediately return calls Friday seeking comment on the status of the complaint.