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Will County Board OKs truck terminal in Joliet Township

Despite some opposition, the Will County Board granted a special use permit to allow a truck terminal to operate in Joliet Township at its Sept. 19 meeting.

Board approval will put 5.3 acres of vacant property on Manhattan Road to new use.

The applicant, Gabriela Sanchez, is looking to park semi-trucks and run a trucking business.

Currently, the land is wooded and does not have any improvements. There is also a floodplain and floodway located on the property.

Among those objecting to the petitioner’s request is the city of Joliet.

In an email dated Aug. 20, Michael Schwarz, planning director for the city of Joliet, stated several objections to the special use permit request. Those include: a site plan not provided with the application, the property contains a floodplain and a tributary of the Sugar Run Creek, the property is located within the extra-territorial area of the city, and the impact of increased truck traffic to local roadways.

However, the special use permit request did receive some support.

In a letter dated July 5, the Will-South Cook Soil and Water Conservation District Board provided a positive recommendation of the petitioner’s request. It states, “Reviews by the Will-South Cook Soil and Water Conservation District Board have determined that the activity taking place on the existing property will have little to no effect on the existing land.”

County staff provided a positive recommendation to the Will County Board.

Board approval did not occur without requiring a pair of conditions. Those include: giving the applicant 14 days written notice of an inspection of the premise and limiting the number of semi-truck tractors with an attached trailer to 15.

A third condition had been raised but would not be attached to the special use permit request. It would have allowed for the building of a raised berm, which adds screening. Members of the Will County Planning and Zoning Commission decided the third condition would not be imposed.

Not every Will County Board member was on board with the petitioner’s request.

“Staff had initially recommended the truck terminal have a berm, but then stated it would be burden some to the small business so they only required a screening,” Will County Board Member Rachel Ventura said. “My view is if you are going to have a truck terminal causing air, noise, and other environmental pollutions as well as tearing up the roads, then the burden should not be placed on the tax payer.” 

Ventura cast the lone dissenting vote.

“We need to start requiring a higher responsibility and accountability for the destruction to our air, water, roads and overall environment, and not just look at growth and tax revenues generated,” she said.

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