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Joliet City Council to revisit DriveTime decision

July 20, 2016

 

The Joliet City Council will reconsider a proposal denying a used car retailer and finance company DriveTime a special-use permit.  

 

Officials agreed to revisit the petition at last week’s meeting, after City Manager Jim Hock received new information that a business focused on blood and plasma purchases was interested in the property at 1395 N. Larkin Ave.

 

“Because it’s an allowable use, there’s no city review,” he said. “They can just come in and get their permits for modification to the interior of the building.”

 

A number of city officials raised concerns regarding the new development, including Mayor Bob O’DeKirk.

 

“With DriveTime, they estimated $200,00 a year in taxes for the city,” he said. “Do we have an estimate on what this blood center would raise for the city?”

 

Hock said outside of property taxes, the blood and plasma center wouldn’t generate dollars for the city.

 

For more than two years, the former Century Tile lot has been vacant.

 

In June, the city received notice of the first of two proposed business developments. Tempe, Arizona-based DriveTime intended to request a special-use permit that would allow officials to review their plans for modifying the site; it was denied.

 

Councilwoman Jan Quillman noted a concern regarding the legitimacy of the business if it decided to set up shop on Larkin Avenue.

 

“It just seems to me that’s an awfully big place for blood donations,” she said, noting that Heartland Blood Center utilizes mobile trucks for donations. “I just don’t know what they would do with the rest of that building.”

 

Councilman Larry Hug said he’s pleased by the new revelations and the way the city may proceed in filling the vacant lot. 

 

“If this is a real offer, lets be clear that any objections individually any body had here on the original project have to be addressed,” he said.

 

City officials noted that a blood center already operates in Joliet at 128 Collins Street.

 

Councilman John Gerl said he sees reason to have caution if the blood center takes ownership.

 

“I’ve never had any experience with [blood and plasma donation centers], but it doesn’t sound like a good project to me,” he added.  

 

Ultimately, the council members decided to reconsider the matter at their Aug. 2 meeting, where a vote will be cast to rescind the permit denial and grant the special use.

 

Michael Martin, an attorney representing DriveTime, told the council that operating the business using the vacant lot is still being considered as an option.

 

“Both parties, DriveTime and Century Tile, are interested in still pursuing the site,” he said.

 

O’DeKirk said it makes sense to bring the matter back before the council.

 

“I think it’s something we should revisit,” the mayor said. “I don’t know what the vote of the council would be, but I have no problem if we bring that back at the next meeting and have a debate about this.”

 

Emergency purchase of HVAC unit for Silver Cross Field approved

 

The Joliet City Council approved a $22,221 emergency purchase of an HVAC unit for Silver Cross Field at its July 19 meeting.

 

The unit, which controls heating and air conditioning in the operating offices for the Slammers baseball team, stopped working recently. As part of Joliet Community Baseball and Entertainment’s lease, the city is responsible for capital expenditures.

 

The existing HVAC unit was installed almost 15 years ago, and the city said it is at the end of its life cycle. This, combined with summer heat, prompted officials to purchase a replacement.

 

The new unit will need to comply with the International Energy Conservation Code, so as to remain consistent with other units at the ballpark.

 

The purchase of a new Trane HVAC unit will be paid to YMI, using monies in the city’s ballpark capital account. City officials said a budget adjustment will be necessary, as the purchase when the annual budget was approved. 

 

May Street water main work

 

Also during that meeting, city officials awarded a $349.623.05 contract to Austin Tyler Construction for water main improvements on May Street.

 

The city said a section of the street’s water main was selected for improvements due to high failure rates.

 

After receiving nine sealed bids for the project, a contract was awarded to the low bidder, Austin Tyler Construction. Gerardi Sewer and Water did not supply the city with their current prequalification prior to the bid opening, prompting officials not to read the bids.

 

The project will be paid for using the water and sewer improvement fund.

 

Cleaning Hickory, Spring Creeks

 

The city approved a $59,000 contract to Gregg W. Dobczyk Excavating for regular cleaning and maintenance of the Hickory Creek and Spring Creek.

 

According to the city, the cleaning and maintenance work allows the two water channels to maintain proper flow.

 

Officials received three sealed bids for the project, with Gregg W. Dobczyk Excavating providing the lowest bid.

 

The project will use money from the general fund.

 

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