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Business owners sue Downers Grove, Flavorchem over road closing

If Brook Drive is closed, residents, business owners, and commuters will notice an impact to access, visibility, traffic in the area, and property values throughout the industrial park, said Oak Grove Center business owners.

The group is suing the Village of Downers Grove and Flavorchem Corporation, a creator and manufacturer of flavor and color solutions for the food, beverage and nutraceutical industries, over plans for the public roadway’s closure.

Steve Giesler, a partner for G-H Oak Grove Center Venture, said it is not clear why the Village would agree to this deal.

“My building, in particular, we’re at the end of the Brook Drive,” he said. “My tenants will have to drive through Flavorchem’s parking lot to gain access, so we lose visibility. That affects our property’s value.”

Downers Grove officials took action in September 2017 turning over the licensing of Brook Drive to Flavorchem Corporation in a $380,000 agreement. Oak Grove Center businesses have been in talks with the Village airing their concerns for the roadway’s potential closure for more than a year.

“There are a number of reasons [to oppose the road closure,] and one is the value of the land given to Flavorchem,” he said. “Their appraisal put it at $380,000. The Village gets nothing out of it. If they should leave, there’s no bond in place to restore the street. The effect on traffic, particularly for those with deliveries near the intersection of Butterfield and Finley roads, it’s tough to get through depending on the weather and the time of day.”

Giesler said the Plan Commission had heard their concerns and primarily voted in kind, but the Village Council did not vote accordingly.

“I think they’re afraid Flavorchem could leave, if not approved,” he said. “Our position is they own these buildings. They’re not going to leave. If they did, they lease them to tenants or sell them. They don’t occupy all the buildings they own. It would have no impact to Downers Grove on collecting real estate taxes.”

A lawsuit, filed in December 2017, is currently pending in the Circuit Court of the 18th Judicial Court.

Phone calls to the Village of Downers Grove seeking comment were declined because they do not comment on pending litigation.

Giesler wanted it to be clear that he supports local businesses and the Village’s advancement.

“I’m happy to see them expand and grow,” he said.

The hope, Giesler said, is that a resolution can be reached.

“It would be great if we could,” he said. “If we could come to an arrangement, that would be great. The bottom line is, we want Brook Drive to remain open.”

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