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Batavia residents voice opposition to proposed industrial park

Planned for land at Kirk Road and Wind Energy Pass

Published: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 12:12 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 6:59 a.m. CDT

BATAVIA – Residents crowded the Batavia City Council chambers on Tuesday to show their opposition to the proposed rezoning of land at Kirk Road and Wind Energy Pass on the city’s east side for an industrial park.

“It will change and degrade the character of Batavia from a neighborhood feel to an industrial feel,” said resident Dan Pepin, in addressing aldermen at Tuesday’s Joint Committee of the Whole meeting. Pepin is a member of a group called Keep Batavia Neighborhoods, which is opposed to the proposed industrial park.

Batavia aldermen plan to discuss the proposed development at an Aug. 19 Joint Committee of the Whole meeting.

Plan commissioners in April voted, 4-3, to recommend amending the city’s comprehensive plan and zoning map to allow for an industrial park on land along Kirk Road originally proposed for town houses. 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 development originally proposed for the property included residential zoning on the eastern 36 acres, with 242 town houses proposed. The western 20 acres was to be zoned general commercial.

Skokie-based The Missner Group now proposes to build two large industrial buildings on the entire 56-acre property.

Keep Batavia Neighborhoods has started a website, www.keepbatavianeighborhoods.com, and has posted signs along Kirk Road in opposition to the proposal. Among other issues, the group is concerned about the additional truck traffic the proposed industrial park would generate and its impact on the surrounding area, including Kirk Road.

“Kirk Road has become overcrowded and dangerous again,” said Chris Virelli, another member of Keep Batavia Neighborhoods. “Please consider the ramifications of your decisions.”

Keep Batavia Neighborhoods member Dennis Merritt has made an offer to purchase the Prairie Commons property. Merritt has been in the real estate business for 30 years.

His proposal calls for 242 town houses to be built on the land, which is what originally was proposed.

“There is another offer on the table,” Merritt told aldermen.

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