JOLIET – A developer who wants to replace an old house on Plainfield Road with a strip center has run into opposition from neighbors who say they already face traffic problems that the city has ignored.
The Joliet City Council has put off votes on the project planned for 1226 Plainfield Road.
On Thursday, a second community meeting was held at City Hall with what seemed to be an apparent attempt by residents from the Kerwin Terrace and Briargate neighborhoods to seek a resolution that did not develop.
Developer Dan Robles presented changed plans that, among other things, proposed taking away a driveway onto Connecticut Avenue and making changes to the building design to give it the appearance of a town home development.
“With this project that I’m trying to bring to Plainfield Road, my idea is not to damage the neighborhood. I don’t want to bring in bad businesses,” Robles said.
At one point in the meeting, Robles said he was dropping a cellphone store that he had lined up as a tenant because of neighborhood objections to cellphone stores. But the 20 or so residents at the meeting were not ready to welcome Robles into the neighborhood.
“The pictures are pretty. We appreciate it. We don’t want you there,” Randy Wolz said.
Plainfield Road, also known as U.S. Route 30, is one of the city’s busiest streets and major corridors. It’s a highway that runs through Joliet as well as a route to the Louis Joliet Mall.
Neighbors attending the meeting said that too many motorists stray off Plainfield Road into the neighborhood, creating traffic problems that residents have had to deal with for years.
“We can’t get anything accomplished as far as traffic cutting through this little subdivision,” Marvin Balsley said.
Balsley said it took seven years to get a stop sign put up, and the strip center would bring more traffic into the neighborhood streets.
“People are cutting through our neighborhood for everything,” Cathy Buchanan said. “Traffic is an issue. You guys need to work on the traffic problems first, and then come back and we’ll see how it works.”
The project is expected to go to a vote at the June 6 City Council meeting.
Robles plans to build a strip center with spaces for five businesses after demolishing the house, which previously was used for a chiropractor’s office. The property consists of two lots, one zoned for business and the other zoned for residential use. Robles needs rezoning to move ahead with his proposal.
The plan received preliminary approval in March from the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals and Plan Commission, but it was tabled by the City Council when neighbors learned about the project and began to voice opposition.