BELVIDERE – The Boone County Board has approved a special use permit to allow Ceroni Piping to relocate to 22.49-acre parcel on the northwest corner of U.S. Route 20 and Interstate 90.

But that approval, in an 11-1 vote with board member Sherry Branson dissenting, came after lengthy debate over what plans the Illinois Department of Transportation has for that area.

The primary concern was access to the property from Route 20.

Despite that unknown, the city-county interim planning director, Kathy Miller, said she felt “comfortable with going ahead with the special use.”

In addition to a new building being constructed for Ceroni Piping, plans call for outdoor storage and, eventually, an industrial subdivision. Such details would be worked out at the next stage, which is platting the property.

The current zoning is I-1, light industrial, with the land use plan calling for single family residences and row crop production. But that area of Route 20 is expected to be developed with industrial uses.

This is a complex issue.

Miller explained that the farmhouse on the property is accessed by an existing driveway. But once the property is developed, Wheeler Road is expected to be extended and used as the sole access.

In addition, the village of Cherry Valley and city of Belvidere have a boundary agreement that includes the subject property.

Everything west of Wheeler Road, including the Ceroni land, falls under Cherry Valley’s jurisdiction. Everything east of Wheeler eventually will be developed within Belvidere’s jurisdiction.

The final configuration of Wheeler Road will be determined later, during the platting process.

County jurisdiction

“Since the applicant is not seeking to connect to municipal services at this time, he is choosing to remain under the jurisdiction of Boone County, rather than annex into the village of Cherry Valley,” Miller explained.

She said the requested planned development is to allow two deviations from the county zoning ordinance. They are:

1. Allowing outdoor storage, which is normally a special use in the light industrial zoning district. The storage would be for semi-cab and trailers, and portable contractor offices (trailers).

2. Having the rear wall of the building be completely metal to accommodate future expansion. The county’s U.S. Highway 20 Corridor Overlay District requires buildings to be or masonry or glass materials.

No county agencies had any reservations about the request. That included the Boone County Soil and Water Conservation District, county Engineer Rich Lundin, county building department or the county health department.

The city-county planning staff recommended approval of the request, as did the county zoning board of appeals in a 5-0 vote and the planning, zoning and building committee (PZB) in a 4-0 vote. The PZB is one of seven standing committees of the county board and consists of five county board members.

No bridge anytime soon

The Illinois Tollway Authority plans to one day build a new bridge over I-90, at Route 20. But County Administrator Ken Terrinoni told the board he spoke with IDOT officials that day (April 15) and they don’t plan to do anything anytime soon.

“What about the turn lanes?” Branson asked.

“Turn lanes will be addressed at the time of platting,” Miller replied.

Attorney Natalie Barber, representing Ceroni, said the company had received preliminary plans from IDOT for that area,” so they will plan accordingly.” The building is being put in the middle, rear portion of the property. “No one will build towards where the entrance (off Wheeler Road) will be,” she added. “There are natural checks and balances.”

She said the next step for the company would be to submit a plat to county staff. In addition, she said, “IDOT will have to sign off on that.”

County board member Kenny Freeman said he understood the need for new business to come into the county. But he wondered if the access issue had been worked out with the neighbors?

“We have met with the neighbors, and they are comfortable with where we are now,” Barber answered.

Board member Cathy Ward asked those in the audience if any of them wanted to address the issue?

One resident, who lives immediately west of the property, said he was “pretty much in agreement with what is happening. “IDOT won’t do anything with Wheeler Road until something is done with the bridge” over I-90, he said. “The bridge won’t be touched until 2018.”

Board member Karl Johnson said this was but one step in the process. “What IDOT will determine is a crystal ball guess,” he said. “IDOT can change from one day to the next. We can offer the opportunity for them (Ceroni) to pass this small hurdle. IDOT’s the final say.”

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