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Local News

Joliet rejects another Jefferson Street business plan

The city council this week rejected a special use permit for a car accessory and rims shop at this closed auto parts store at 2409 W. Jefferson St.
The city council this week rejected a special use permit for a car accessory and rims shop at this closed auto parts store at 2409 W. Jefferson St.

JOLIET – The City Council for a second time in two weeks rejected a business planned for West Jefferson Street.

The council turned down a special use permit Tuesday for a car customizing and rim shop that would
have gone into a vacant building at 2409 W. Jefferson St.
formerly used as an auto parts store.

“In my opinion, we could find a better business that’s more suitable to that area,” Councilman John Gerl said Wednesday.

The council voted, 6-2, against the permit for Crusader Customs, which now operates at 1020 W. Jefferson St.

The decision came after a 7-1 vote Dec. 19 against a license for a liquor store at 2155 W. Jefferson St., which council members also said was a wrong location.

Business owner Albert Kopinski, who was at the meeting, said he did not expect the vote against his plan.

“I’ve been in Joliet 17 years,” Kopinski said. “I’m just looking to relocate so we can move to a bigger space.”

The space Kopinski wants was last used as a Carquest auto parts store.

Crusader Customs specializes in rims but also customizes cars and sells tires and accessories.

The business also planned to sell used cars, which the city’s planning staff said would amount to one or two cars at a time.

The city’s planning staff recommended approval of the permit.

“I’m following in this case the direction of our professional planners,” said Councilman Pat Mudron, who along with Michael Turk voted for the permit for Crusader Customs.

Mudron also was the lone vote for the Joliet Market liquor license on Dec. 19, saying he thought the council was trying to control competition.

He said Crusader Customs plans for 2409 W. Jefferson St. was “a business decision not a council decision.”

Gerl, whose District 3 includes the West Jefferson Street location, was among several council members who questioned Kendall Jackson, the city’s planning director, about Crusader Customs’ plans for the location.

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk asked Jackson whether Crusader Customs would have an adverse impact on the tax increment financing district created to encourage redevelopment in the area around Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center.

“I don’t believe it will have an adverse impact,” Jackson said.

The TIF district ends at Republic Avenue, which is about a block east of the proposed Crusader Customs site. But Gerl said he thought the TIF district could help attract other businesses there.

“We have an opportunity to bring something a little more desirable than a rim shop – not that I’m disparaging rim shops,” Gerl said.

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