ELWOOD – The Village of Elwood Planning and Zoning meeting on the rezoning of land for the Compass Business Park will continue with a third session Jan. 17.
The village held the first session on Dec. 19 and a second session last Thursday with about 97 people signed up to speak and ask questions of NorthPoint Development representatives. Village Administrator Marian Gibson said the commission has gotten through 60 speakers so far, with some speakers who were signed up not present at Thursday’s meeting to speak.
The issue at hand was the proposed zoning for 851 acres located east of Route 53, about 176 acres is annexed to the Village of Elwood and about 675 acres is proposed to be annexed to the Village of Elwood as well as a special use permit for a planned unit development.
At the second session on Thursday, several speakers voiced their opposition, or at least skepticism, to several aspects of the proposed 2,200-acre industrial park. One of the main concerns opponents of the project have is about the potential increase in tractor-trailer truck traffic to the area.
NorthPoint has tried to assure community members that a closed loop system is planned to keep trucks within the park and off local roads with the use of barriers.
But locals cite their concern with numerous incidents of traffic violations and accidents involving trucks in the area in recent years.
“We understand that it’s an interesting, maybe a new concept,” Gibson said. “We also understand that people are skeptical because of what has happened to date.”
NorthPoint has pledged to fund the building of a gateway bridge over Route 53 to relieve traffic congestion and provide the only truck access to and from Compass Business Park. Multiple locals had questions about that aspect of the project.
NorthPoint representatives said that it could get reimbursed up to 70 percent of the cost, about $14 million, by the taxes produced through the industrial park. Gibson said the village wouldn’t even be talking to NorthPoint about the project if the bridge was not a part of the plan.
Gibson added that it is uncertain whether all the speakers will be given an opportunity to make their comments or ask questions in the next meeting, which would require a fourth meeting. The members of the commission would also be able to ask their questions of the NorthPoint representatives once the public has made its comments.
She said the village is “committed to receive all the public input.”
The next meeting will also be at the Elwood Community Consolidated School District 203 at 7 p.m. Jan. 17.