“Nobody in the neighborhood cares what the size of the building is. That’s not important,” said Naperville resident Doug Oliver. “What’s important is how many people are going to be coming in and out of the neighborhood every day.”
That was the message from many neighbors of 1001 South Washington Street at the most recent Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.
About the Property
Formerly the location of a PNC bank, the site is set to become a mixed-use office and retail development, featuring a drive-thru coffee shop, proposed by Tartan Realty.
“Tartan is only proposing a total of 28,500 square feet, which that square footage is spread out over three buildings on 3.5 acres,” explained Vince Rosanova, from Rosanova & Whitaker who is representing Tartan. “[That] is approximately 10% of the square footage that’s allowed in the OCI zoning district, and only 57% approximately of the total square footage permitted in the B1 zoning district.”
The commission voted unanimously to approve the rezoning of the property, changing it from OCI, or Office/Commercial/Institutional, to a B1 Neighborhood Convenience Shopping Center District.
But, many neighbors were concerned with traffic and safety issues, as the site is just a few blocks from an elementary school.
“I am very concerned with how the safety of my children and their friends walking to school will be impacted by the addition of a development that could allow for drive-thru traffic entering from and exiting onto streets used by elementary school students,” explained Naperville resident Julie Holzhauer.
Neighbors even started a petition to stall the project, which has garnered 400 signatures.
Tartan’s traffic study did show a slight increase in traffic on the neighborhood roads.
Why it Was Approved
Yet the commission unanimously agreed with city staff’s recommendation to vote in favor of the rezoning. They say B1 is more compatible with the community shopping district just east of the property and more appropriate than OCI zoning, which would open the opportunity for an even larger development.
“We’re not comparing this to a bank, that’s not what’s being proposed,” said Chairman Bruce Hanson. “We’re comparing this to what is in front of us. But we do have to look at what is possible with the existing OCI zoning. So the things that can go in that right now by right without making any changes will generate traffic. There’s going to be traffic on Gartner and Washington, and Sycamore and Catalpa.”
The positive recommendation now goes to Naperville City Council.
Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.
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