ROMEOVILLE – A plan to develop space for warehouses on Bluff Road has caused residents in the area concern over potential environmental and traffic safety effects, but the Village of Romeoville is highlighting the new tax revenue the project would generate.
The plan includes developing two 600,000-square-foot industrial buildings on the south side of Bluff Road, which lies between Joliet Road and Lemont Road. The buildings could be used as manufacturing, assembly or industrial logistical warehouses.
Romeoville Village Manager Steve Gulden said the project is being developed because the village is a “great market” for expanding logistics for e-commerce.
“E-commerce is becoming huge,” Gulden said. “So they anticipate need for logistical storage.”
The project’s developer is CT Realty out of California.
Gulden added that the project would generate $20 million in new tax revenue for the village.
Still, members of the Bluff Road community, whose addresses are in unincorporated Lemont, have made their opposition to the project known. They put out a news release last week stating their concerns and took those concerns to the Dec. 6 Village Board meeting.
Phil Smunt, 30, one of those residents who lives on Bluff Road and has a Lemont address, moved to the area in 2016 with his wife because of the natural beauty next to the neighborhood.
“We fell in love immediately with the scenery and wooded area, the quietness and that whole community off of Bluff Road,” Smunt said.
Smunt and his neighbors became aware of the project in November because of a letter about the property, which is to be annexed for the development, qualifying for a tax increment financing district. He said they were concerned about what that meant for the natural environment in that area.
“We were just crushed,” he said. “Because if you stand in front of our house, you look right into woods and it’s just beautiful.”
Smunt said at the Nov. 6 Village Board meeting that he was concerned about requests for variances relaxing the clean water standards of storm sewers and major storm water systems. Gulden said the variances were similar to others the village approved for other warehouse developments and that no project would be approved if it did not meet EPA and village environmental safety standards.
The residents also were concerned about the impact on traffic safety with Bluff Road, currently a two-lane road, with semitrailers driving on the road with passenger vehicles. Gulden said the part of the road in front of the development would be expanded to accommodate the truck traffic and that new traffic signs would be put up to alert the trucks to the speed limit.
But the residents still want the village to consider the potential personal impact it would have on the residents who live there.
“It’s up in the air now,” Smunt said. “With warehouses being built across the street, certainly no one else is going to be interested in buying this home in the future. What does that mean for us?”