Batavia aldermen divided about proposed industrial park

Published: Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

BATAVIA – Aldermen are divided over plans for an industrial park on land along Kirk Road originally proposed for town houses.

“I don’t want a large industrial park there,” 1st Ward Alderman Garran Sparks said at Tuesday’s Joint Committee of the Whole meeting. “It doesn’t belong. I’m against it.”

The 56-acre property, known as Prairie Commons, is on the east side of Kirk Road at Wind Energy Pass. City officials in 2005 annexed the property. The original development included residential zoning on the eastern 36 acres, with 242 town houses proposed. The western 20 acres was to be zoned general commercial.

The Missner Group now proposes to build two large industrial buildings on the entire 56-acre property. One building would be on the eastern part of the property and would be 495,000 square feet, he said. The second building would be along Kirk Road and would be 300,000 square feet.

Fifth Ward Alderman Steve Vasilion agreed with Sparks’ concerns.

“There is nothing but residential around it,” he said. “To me, it doesn’t work. If we were in a healthy economy, we would probably be a lot more selective.”

But other aldermen supported the proposal, such as 4th Ward Alderman Susan Stark.

“It’s been a long time that anybody has expressed interest in the site,” Stark said. “Right now, we are not getting any benefit from a big parcel of land sitting empty.”

A financial analysis done by Batavia city staff showed that 775,000 square feet of industrial space would generate an estimated $268,600 in annual revenues. Under another proposal, 242 manufacturing units and 18 acres retail would generate estimated annual revenues of $1,757,800.

The development as proposed would require an amendment to the comprehensive plan, an amended annexation agreement and rezoning before The Missner Group could proceed further with the proposal.

Aurora resident Frank Ledone, who lives in Savannah subdivision south of the proposal, is against the plan along with his neighbors.

“I feel like the project is inappropriate for a residential area,” Ledone said.

Savannah Homeowners Association president Alan Long said the project would cause problems such as more traffic, decreased home values and pollution. He also is chairman of the Big Woods Marmion Neighborhood Association, a neighborhood group representing nine communities in the area, including Kirkland Farms, Savannah, Ginger Woods, Cinnamon Glen, Butterfield and Marmion Abbey.

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Jan Schlictmann at a Geneva law firm.

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