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Joliet strip mall planned for Plainfield Road

Published: Monday, March 20, 2017 4:18 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, March 20, 2017 10:42 p.m. CDT

JOLIET – A local developer plans to create a strip mall out of a Plainfield Road residential site.

Dan Robles would create a strip mall with five storefronts at 1226 Plainfield Road, according to plans presented last week to the Joliet Zoning Board of Appeals and to the plan commission.

Both panels approved the plan, which will go to the city council for final approval.

Robles said he has lined up users for two of the spots in the strip mall and is talking with a restaurant owner about filling a middle spot. Robles also owns a plaza on Collins Street.

The house now on the Plainfield Road site, which was last used as a chiropractic office, would be demolished.

One resident at the zoning board meeting raised questions about a driveway to the site off Connecticut Avenue and its potential to bring traffic into the surrounding neighborhood.

"The drive-in off of Connecticut would really increase the traffic quite a bit," said Richard Adams, who lives nearby. "We're concerned about that."

Michael Schwarz, director of planning for Joliet, said city staff believed that the Connecticut Avenue driveway would primarily be used by employees at the strip mall.

"We don't see that being a major traffic generator," Schwarz told the board.

The project went to the zoning board for a landscaping variance, which was approved by a vote of 5-1. It does not include landscaping along the rear fence of the property, which borders an alley, to make room for parking spaces.

"Typically, that's a fence with landscaping. In this case, it's just a fence," Schwarz told the zoning board. He added that the alley serves "somewhat as a buffer" between the rear of the property and houses.

Other businesses lined up for the site so far are a cellphone store and a nail salon, Robles said.

The plan includes 44 parking spaces.

The plan also wen to the plan commission, which approved a reclassification of the property from single-family residential to neighborhood business zoning.

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