BATAVIA – Plan commissioners Wednesday voted 4-3 to amend the city's comprehensive plan and zoning map to allow for an industrial park on land along Kirk Road originally proposed for town houses.
Voting "yes" were commissioners Thomas Gosselin, Tom LaLonde, Gene Schneider and Sue Peterson. Plan commission chairman Joan Joseph and commissioners Ed Weiss and Sarah Harms voted "no."
The plan commission's recommendation will now to the City Council's Joint Committee of the Whole for review. Weiss voiced his opposition to the land being used for an industrial park.
“I’m very uncomfortable with the change,” Weiss said. “It will change the whole character of the area.”
At press time, commissioners had not yet voted on the proposal.
Neighboring homeowners also have voiced their opposition to the plan.
Plan commissioner Gene Schneider voiced his support for the proposed industrial park, although he wants to make sure the neighboring homes will be buffered from it.
“I don’t think it will have the negative impact that some people think,” Schneider said. “We have to make sure they would buffer the property the way we expect it to be. It definitely has to be buffered to the hilt.”
City staff has recommended approval of the industrial park plans.
“With proper land design and land use limitations, residential property and industrial property can be protected from each other,” City Planning and Zoning Officer Joel Strassman told plan commissioners.
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.
A financial analysis done by Batavia city staff showed that 775,000 square feet of industrial space would generate about $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.