Jerome residents say growth happening too fast

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An updated site plan for a development in New California, proposed by the Homewood Corporation, shows 83.5 acres of land southeast of U.S. 42 and U.S. 33. The property would be a mixed-use development with an access road connecting U.S. 42 to Brock Road and separating the planned office park to the north from the residential and retail lots to the south.

(Graphic submitted)

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Continual growth in Jerome Township has left some residents frustrated with the rate of change.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the trustees approved an application allowing the Homewood Corporation to move forward with pursuing a development southeast of the U.S. 42/U.S. 33 interchange, a decision residents visiting the meeting wanted to avoid.

Megan Sloat, a township resident, said the area’s development is happening too fast.

“As of now, only a small fraction of these developments have actually been completed,” Sloat said. “How can we know what the impact of all this will actually look like when they are all built? This is not the time to put another large development on the pile.”

Sloat asked that the development not be approved and urged the trustees to “slow down” to ensure the best decisions are being made.

Resident Barry Adler also spoke at the meeting, agreeing that the township is “moving too fast” with regard to development.

“This will definitely add an excessive amount of traffic to an already overburdened roadway infrastructure,” Adler said. “If your home was on fire due to a gas leak, would you turn the gas up?”

The development has been on the table for more than two years, mostly due to work done on plans to meet township zoning requirements. The application before the trustees on Tuesday was recommend to be approved by the zoning board.

Those plans show a mixed-use development going on 83.5 acres of land behind the Marathon gas station, adjacent to the Kimberly Woods neighborhood.

Among the lot types, the development will have an 8-acre medical center office park as well as several varieties of residential units and retail space. The property would be divided in half by a road that would connect U.S. 42 to Brock Road, separating the office park from the retail and residential lots.

Jim Lipnos, president of the Homewood Corporation, said the development would be an investment into the community.

“The project promotes economic growth and grows the tax base of Jerome Township,” Lipnos said. “Just with the medical user that we have in contract at this point, it’s a $10 million investment; we got 30 full-time employees and with payroll, about $4 million.”

If those numbers were extrapolated across the entire office park, the overall investment would be $100 million, 150 jobs and over $10 million in annual payroll, Lipnos said.

Trustees moved forward with the application but did so with the conditions that the development loses a full story (or 8 units) from one of the apartment buildings and that the development enters into a Joint Economic District with surrounding municipalities if one is formed. Lipnos agreed to both conditions and agreed to put the answers in writing.

Also at the meeting, the trustees certified a petition for a referendum of the Rolling Meadows development, spearheaded by Adler.

Trustees approved the application at the end of June, which could bring a housing development to the Rolling Meadows Golf Course on Industrial Parkway.

Residents, including Adler, expressed concern over the development being so close to two landfills as well as including golf course land as required green space in the design plans.

“You as trustees need to do a better job at looking out for the general welfare and safety of this community and not giving the developers a free pass to make the maximum profits at the long term expense of the residents,” Adler said. “We need to be asking more of the developers to provide their fair share of the cost of development in this community.”



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