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Group opposed to industrial park wants to address Batavia aldermen

Published: Friday, Aug. 8, 2014 10:54 p.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014 7:28 a.m. CDT

BATAVIA – Members of the group Keep Batavia Neighborhoods, which has voiced opposition to a proposed industrial park at Kirk Road and Wind Energy Pass, will find out next week whether they will be able to address aldermen again.

The group’s members, along with other residents, recently crowded the Batavia City Council chambers to show opposition to the project. Keep Batavia Neighborhoods had been invited back to talk to aldermen at their Aug. 19 Joint Committee of the Whole meeting.

But now that discussion might not take place.

“The developer hasn’t presented a plan yet,” Batavia Community Development Director Scott Buening said Friday. “There isn’t anything new to discuss. They are still working on their submittal, as far as I know.”

Aldermen will decide at Tuesday’s Joint Committee of the Whole meeting whether the item will stay on the agenda, Buening said. Keep Batavia Neighborhoods member Dennis Merritt said he is disappointed that the group might not get to address aldermen.

“Why are we this far down the road without a plan?” Merritt asked. “There is no good case to rezone the land.”

He 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.

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.

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