Joliet Plan Commission says no to NASCAR warehouses

The usually development friendly Plan Commission on Thursday turned down plans for warehouses outside the Chicagoland Speedway and a gas station on Route 6.

Both plans still will go to the City Council in September for a final vote.

But Mayor Bob O’Dekirk and council members have also said they favor a moratorium on warehouse development along Route 53 after approving the controversial NorthPoint project in April.

Chicagoland Speedway is located along Route 53, and the warehouse plan already faced resistance when it was presented to the council’s Economic Development Committee in July.

Plan Commission members who in the past approved Route 53 warehouse projects amid objections that they would add to truck congestion made the kind of comments about traffic that they had heard in at past meetings from residents trying to slow down development.

“We all know that 53 is a mess as it is,” Commissioner Brigette Fiday said as she argued that the Chicagoland Speedway proposal would add to congestion.

“As much as I like development, I think this is a great project just at the wrong time,” Commissioner Jim Capparelli said. “The traffic there is just atrocious.”

Capparelli added that the commissioners “have been getting a lot of pushback from residents and people. I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves before we see those traffic issues addressed.”

Commission Chairman John Dillon noted that the NorthPoint project was approved with a condition that the developer build a bridge over Route 53 to keep trucks off the highway, The Chicagoland Speedway plan would add to Route 53 traffic, he said.
Herald News