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DeKalb's Planning and Zoning Commission backs ChicagoWest project, but residents fret

DeKALB – A number of residents who neighbor DeKalb’s ChicagoWest Business Center expressed concerns over water retention, lighting, construction noise and traffic control as a Chicago-based property owner inches closer to bringing two major companies to the city.

Jerry Krusinski, CEO of Krusinski Construction Company, fielded a slew of questions from a room full of residents during a two-hour hearing Wednesday. Krusinski went before city’s Planning & Zoning Commission to request a permit for an international food distributor and manufacturer eyeing the site for a 1.2 million-square-foot distribution center to be filled with 1,000 jobs by the end of 2020.

Commissioner David Castro was among several commissioners who urged staff to bring the questions to the city council.

“I really like [the project], but let’s do it right from the beginning,” Castro said. “The more we put our heads into this the better the outcome is going to be.”

The commission voted unanimously in favor of the request, which will go before the city council for a vote Monday, part of a high-profile effort by city staff and Krusinski to brnig more business to DeKalb. Since purchasing the site for development in 2006, Krusinski said he’s turned away a number of potential employers in lieu of one he thought would work better for the neighbors on Gurler and Peace Roads, and along Route 23 because they were “heavy industrial operations, dirty, or there were chemicals.”

“We don’t want that here,” Krusinski said. “We want to create a nice business park. We want to make sure it is done well.”

While seven members of the DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation heralded the potential economic development, several neighboring residents expressed concerns.

Tom and Ingrid Inboden, who’ve been at their South First Street address for 32 years, said water buildup around the area is due to beaver dams which can impact roads.

“In front of my house about 10 years ago we had Route 23 collapse,” Tom Inboden said. “I think that’s an issue that really needs to be dug into because you can go back down there and view that area and look when it rains.”

City Engineer Zac Gill said a traffic study, along with a storm water report was presented to the city as part of the permit request, and complies with ordinance regulations.

Krusinski said water runoff collecting along the property is a concern for his team as well, and said he’s working with state and surrounding agencies.

“That’s been a thorn in our side as well,” Krusinski said. “The fact of the matter is much of that problem is caused by the beaver dams that are under the Route 23 culvert with the railroad as well as downstream.”

Kathy Kivisto, who lives in the 3200 block of South Fourth Street, said she’s worried about truck traffic blocking her driveway.

Gill said the city has applied for transportation improvements in the area that have to be approved by the Illinois Department of Transportation, but could widen Route 23 within one year if approved.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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