To the Editor:
I have been noticing the many stories of neighborhoods finding that the various city and county zoning boards and councilmen don't seem to care what the residents say, do, or want.
First, Elwood, where virtually the entire town and surrounding population turned out to protest any further intermodal warehouse development for the simple reason that the resulting traffic has made their lives hell; three of the four members of the zoning board greenlighted new development anyway. Then, the area off Weber Road where the county and cities of Joliet and Crest Hill decided to change the residential zoning in order to build — you guessed it! — warehouses in residents' backyards because, to quote Larry Hug, "Otherwise, it would be empty." Now, the city of Joliet appears to be greenlighting a drive-through fast food joint over the valid objections of residents in the neighborhood west of Jefferson Street, who do not want the accompanying bright lights and loud speakers necessary for such a business. In my own neighborhood, a strip mall was OK'd in an already-overly commercialized residential area despite objections from everyone within a two block area of the site, and the first we knew that a half-lot had been rezoned for construction was when the bulldozer showed up.
What is going on here? Isn’t the city council supposed to be serving the community which elected it, not the construction industry and realty companies? Who are these people on the zoning boards who ram things through before the affected neighborhoods are aware that there is even a plan afoot, let alone the ones who know the reaction and proceed anyway?
And no, Mr. Hug, "empty space" is not a bad thing. The people have spoken. They are still speaking. Is anyone listening?