Despite concerns raised by residents, plans to develop a strip mall on Plainfield Road advanced.
In a 5-3 vote at the Joliet City Council’s June 6 meeting, a .39-acre site was rezoned from R-2 single-family residential to B-1 neighborhood business to allow the petitioner to consolidate it with the adjacent property. The dissenting votes were council members Jan Quillman, Larry Hug and Pat Mudron.
The petitioner’s intent is to demolish the lot in question, which currently contains a house, to construct an 8,165-square-foot strip mall.
Four residents sought to voice their discontent for the development and urged the council to reject the request for traffic concerns. A petition had been circulated to residents and amassed close to 100 signatures.
Mayor Bob O’Dekirk questioned what actions city staff can take to address traffic concerns.
“How seriously have we ever looked at the idea of some one-way streets to try to limit the flow of traffic to that neighborhood?” he asked.
Director of Public Works Jim Trizna tried to explain.
“We really haven’t looked at one-way streets,” he said. “We’ve looked at traffic in those neighbors. It’s nothing out of the ordinary. We’ve taken many counts.”
The traffic conditions do not warrant the implementation of a cul-de-sac, Trizna said. Additional signs were posted along Oregon Avenue.
Councilman Michael Turk wanted to see if city staff could look at doing another traffic count.
“I know the traffic counts were done,” he said. “I’m not sure how recent those were.”
Trizna said city staff can look into that.
Still, Turk said he didn’t think voting in opposition to the development was appropriate. The idea of building a strip mall makes sense because the developer has put in effort to appease the neighbors, he said.
Quillman said she hopes residents can feel as though they’ve been heard throughout the process.
“I do believe this is something that needs to be addressed whether the strip mall is there or not and hopefully, we can come to some amicable solution,” Quillman said.
Quillman wanted it to be known that the petitioner made several changes to the proposal to take into account the neighbors’ concerns.
“I appreciate what Mr. [Daniel] Robles has done,” she said. “Please keep in mind that I believe he’d be a good neighbor, and even if this does not pass, he still has the right to build on those two lots a business or even sell to someone else that might not [be] as accommodating as he has been through this process to the neighbors.”
Councilwoman Bettye Gavin said she would vote in favor of the development because she thinks the owner and developer will be a great neighbor.
Mudron wanted residents to be aware of the potential ramifications if such a development is not approved.
“I’m not sure if it’s fair to not be looking to advance this project, but I am your council person,” he said. “Be careful what you wish for because anything can go there that falls into zoning restrictions.”
The petitioner’s request as approved allows for construction of a strip mall at 1226 Plainfield Rd.
If the neighbors want one-way streets to curb concerns for traffic, they need to petition the city to introduce such a measure.