JOLIET – Plans for new warehouse and trucking operations advanced Thursday despite pleas from homeowners to do something to slow down development along Route 53.
“Route 53 is such a mess at the present time. Adding more to it is bad. It’s just a hazardous situation,” said Don Walden, one of the plan commissioners who voted for the two projects.
The Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals approved plans for 2.8 million-square-feet of Ikea warehouse space and a Cadence Premier Logistics project that will include a trucking operation along with a corporate office and warehouse space.
Both will go into the Laraway Crossing Business Park at Route 53 and Laraway Road.
The Joliet City Council still most vote on certain elements of the two plans.
Walden and other members of the two panels told residents they needed to work with local officials to get a handle on the growing truck traffic.
At the zoning board meeting, Chairman Ed Hennessy suggested that the city appoint a liaison with area residents to deal with problems caused by the expanding logistics industry on the south end of Joliet.
“This is development that is going to happen,” Hennessy said before he, too, voted for the zoning variations and permits sought by Ikea and Cadence. Hennessy said residents at the meeting “are right. The infrastructure has not happened. This is a catch-up game.”
The two meetings went on for four straight hours with residents sitting through both of them as they tried to make their case.
“What I’ve seen so far is we share our complaints and nothing happens,” Eric Sperstad said.
He asked for some kind of noise wall between the Ikea development and his Sugar Creek neighborhood. But none was offered.
The Ikea project includes two, twin buildings. Each will have 115 foot-high storage towers and consist of 1.4 million square feet.
An Ikea project manager said each warehouse would generate an average of 50 trucks a day. But residents said the latest developments are adding to already dangerous road conditions.
“It’s almost suicide to come out onto Route 53,” said Hazel Harris, a resident on Pheasant Run Road.
“My quality of life is going to be gone, and I can’t afford to move because my property value is down so much,” Chris Cartwright, a resident of the nearby Sugar Creek neighborhood said. “I just want something that’s going to buffer my property a little bit.”
The Cadence project includes a truck repair shop, fueling station and convenience store. The zoning board approved a special use permit to allow video gaming there, too.
But Cadence Chief Executive Officer said the trucking facility is not a truck stop.
The trucking facility will open at 6 a.m. and probably close at 8 p.m., Caylor said. It will feature sales of compressed natural gas for trucks, but diesel fuel also will be sold. Caylor said the operation will run on a subscription basis and will not be open to any truck that drives in off the street.