County: Questions for Zoning

By:  Diane Benjamin

From PAGE 3-May 3, 2016 McLean County Zoning Board of Appeals minutes:


‘The topic of this meeting was approval of a special use permit for a gravel pit on the south edge of McLean County across from Dewitt County:  may3a

This area already has many gravel pits – the proposed site is in yellow.  The green line is the county line, the site is in both McLean and Dewitt counties.

So, what’s the purpose of this story?

Zoning Board members must appear to taxpayers to not have any financial interests in decisions before their board.  Property close to the proposed site has been changing hands since December.  Are backroom deals happening for future gravel pit sites?  That’s impossible to know unless the parties involved say why these transactions happened.  I hear there is A LOT of money in gravel.

The Zoning Board needs to be aware of all the facts when making decisions.  There may be nothing improper going on.  It does appear that Jim Finnigan should recuse himself from future votes however.

Here’s the story I can document:

The County Board just sent this request back to the Zoning Board of Appeals, I couldn’t find any documentation of on the county website yet.  Jim Finnegan is a member of this board, even though he didn’t attend the last hearing.  This Jim Finnegan is a farmer, not the local lawyer.

Finnegan has been involved with property just west of this proposed site – in Dewitt County.  The Jack Snyder lifetime Trust owned property directly west of Finnigan.

Last December Finnigan purchased property with Kieser Farms LLC.



Then, just this month Finnigan sold the property to Jack Snyder Lifetime Trust:

Kieser Farms LLC also sold their part to Jack Snyder Lifetime Trust:

Both made a tiny profit, the question is why buy in December and sell in June?

It just doesn’t look good.




4 thoughts on “County: Questions for Zoning

  1. Yip gravel seems to be big business in this county for some reason.

    I remember when Stark wanted approval for the pit near Shirley and Finnegan lived down the road from it. I thought he opposed that one but I may be wrong. Robert (Bob) Gramp hired lawyer David Stanczak to oppose that pit. Seems like there was a group in on the retaining of Stanczak and I don’t know if Finnegan was one of them or not. Even death threats from the rumors I heard and the meetings had I think law enforcement officers in the room. Anyhow that zoning case got quite ugly. The rumor was Sandra Scott the Zoning chair was probably vacationing in Stark’s FL condo. LOL.

    You wonder why they need so many gravel pits in this county. It’s not like there is a lot of construction taking place. Maybe they are hedging on the future. Haha good luck on that.

    I heard there was another proposed pit along Rt 136 just east of McLean in the SW edge of Funks Grove Township. I haven’t heard anymore about that and I thought those zoning hearings were scheduled last year.

    I suspect Snyder is looking long term for a housing project around a lake. Rumor has it that sometime he wanted to approach the Heyworth school district about a TIF so he could construct an apartment complex north of Heyworth near some old gravel pit. How true that is I don’t really know. The economy tanked and that probably ended that.

    So yeah the gravel business is big in this county.

    Kieser Farms, LLC now there is a story itself if someone researched them. Is the Apostolic Christian Church exempt from taxes?


      1. Six, I can’t remember how many they have had over the years. They had three at one time so they have maybe added more or are considering more.
        This map shows 5 as of 2015.

        Click to access heyworthtif20150202.pdf

        That map link is off of their current website.

        Maybe I have the location of that Funks Grove gravel pit wrong and it was going to be on the SE corner. The one to the right of it is near some Price family property the last I knew. I looked in the plat book and the new one in the picture is in Funks Grove township.


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