JOLIET – Hawk Auto’s plan for two dealerships at Route 59 and Caton Farm Road is headed for a City Council vote next week amid some opposition from neighbors and concerns about access to the dealership. On Thursday, the city’s zoning board and plan commission on Thursday approved the plan to relocate Hawk’s Mazda and Volkswagen from their current locations on West Jefferson Street.
The project is almost certain to be approved when the City Council votes Tuesday since it is seen it as a way to keep the car dealerships and the sales tax dollars they produce in Joliet. The city has developed an incentive package rebating up to
$3.5 million in sales tax dollars back to Hawk to keep the dealerships in town.
But several residents who live across Caton Farm Road from the future Hawk Auto site questioned putting a car dealership so close to an already busy intersection.
“We have pretty much weekly an accident at 59 and Caton Farm,” Donna Anderson told the plan commission.
Hawk Auto wants to put a traffic light at an entrance off Caton Farm across from Olde Mill Road for safety. The city’s planning staff is against the traffic light, saying it could back up traffic onto Route 59 because of its proximity to the highway.
Anderson said the traffic light would be “a total disaster” because it would lead to cars turning onto Olde Mill, a dead end road, trying to take a shortcut to Route 59.
Neighbor Caro Pierceall, however, said she wants the traffic light as a way to get access to Caton Farm.
“If you’re going to put a driveway entrance opposite our street, there’d be no way to get out of our subdivision,” Pierceall said.
Pierceall noted the added congestion that trucks hauling cars into the dealership will create. Attorney Michael Hansen, representing Hawk Auto, told the plan commission that the car carriers are a big reason why the traffic light is needed.
“Those car carriers are going to need to get out, and they’re going to want to go left,” Hansen said.
The dealerships are going on 4.5 acres on the northwest corner. Hawk Auto has another 3.2 acres where it may add another dealership in the future.