MORRIS – Morris City Council is scheduled to discuss and possibly vote Monday night on an annexation agreement with Costco Wholesale that has been years in the making.
In a joint meeting Friday between the Morris Water and Sewer and Parks and Annexation committees, city officials and Costco representatives worked out final details of the agreement and ensured the committees, comprised of the same three aldermen, were up to speed.
Emerging from the three-hour meeting, each committee recommended approving an annexation agreement between the city of Morris and Costco Wholesale Corporation and K&S Real Estate, LLC for the annexation of about 139 acres in Saratoga Township along North Lisbon Road in Grundy County.
There also is a recommendation from the Morris Planning Commission to rezone the future plant site property from agricultural to manufacturing.
The estimated $155 million investment from Costco will bring to Morris a 256,000-square-foot meat processing plant, anticipated to employ up to 155 people upon final build out, Morris City Attorney Scott Belt said. Costco recently downsized its building plan.
“It’s a big project by any measuring stick,” Belt said.
The property is on the east side of Lisbon Road, adjacent to Costco’s existing distribution facility. Costco intends to use about 50 acres for this development and 5.7 acres for right-of-way. There is no plan as of now for expanding on the remaining 83 acres, Costco attorney Katie Jahnke Dale said.
K&S Real Estate is part of the agreement because state statute requires the landowner’s signature when annexing into city limits, Belt said. The petition has been signed by Costco Wholesale and K&S Real Estate and filed with the city clerk’s office.
“I believe upon approval and rezoning, the next step is a sale agreement between K&S and Costco,” Belt said.
Costco has agreed to dedicate right-of-way acreage to Grundy County, allowing the widening and improvement of Lisbon Road, which is a county road. The improvements will be paid for by Costco.
Much of the debate since Costco first proposed the expansion in 2013 was in regards to water and sewer treatment policy, Belt said.
According to the city’s Water and Sewer Infrastructure Development Policy, which requires a per acre fee, Costco will pay the City of Morris a $856,940.74 water and sewer fee that will go toward improvements.
Costco also will pay Morris front-footage fees in the amount of $74,893 for sewer and $59,912 for water.
Because of the amount of fats, oil and grease in the expected 250,000 gallons of water used a day, the parties agreed on discharge limits on various types of waste, so as to not overwhelm the city’s sewage treatment system, which will be improved.
The parties also agreed to periodical tests and that within 30 days of full operation, a composite sampling of discharge will be collected and tested.
“Depending upon the constituents that are identified, a more refined list shall be required to be sampled and analyzed at least annually on the anniversary of the initial sampling,” the annexation agreement states.
Costco is building a lift station within the development to pre-treat waste before discharge into the city’s sewer.