By Megann Horstead | For The Bugle
The Downers Grove Village Council reviewed a request presented by representatives for Flavorchem Corporation for campus expansion.
In a unanimous vote, officials decided to advance plans for the 220,000 square-foot development’s campus expansion for creating and manufacturing flavor and color solutions for food, beverage and nutraceutical industries.
The matter was previously discussed at the council’s Sept. 5 meeting.
Mayor Martin Tully stressed that such a request is not unprecedented for a Village Board to consider as a means of helping a businesses to thrive.
Tax incentives, for example, serves as one of several ways the Village can work with area businesses to promote economic development.
A number of community members spoke out in concern for the project.
Kevin Halpin, of Elite Electronic Engineering, approached the council to present his findings from circling a petition and said he collected 47 signatures from businesses or general managers opposing the measure to license to Flavorchem Corporation for rights to Brook Drive.
Of that amount, it includes 32 separate businesses that oppose the closing of Brook Drive. That makes for roughly 320 employees collectively.
“I found out that the majority of these business owners had no notification that these resolutions were under consideration,” Halpin said. “… his was the first time they had heard that this was happening. I think their reactions to the closure of this street and the impact on their businesses was telling. Most people had a very surprised reaction.”
He added that one individual reacted dismissively questioning the direction of the Village Council.
Halpin stressed that he did not find any individual in favor of the measure as presented to the council and said two people were indifferent.
The Downers Grove business he represents has been located at 1516 Centre Dr. since 1975 and employs 75 people.
The Village’s Plan Commission voted against the proposal and opposed the waiver of the $388,000 vacation fee, which was then going to be requesting a vacation of the street in question.
Mayor Martin Tully said ultimately, the waiving of fees is traditionally a Village Council issue.
The Village receives requests of this type often.
Tully said there were other issues raised by the Plan Commission, but the waiver of the vacation fee served as the big issue.
Commissioner Bob Barnett referenced a traffic study that showed nobody losing access to Finley or Butterfield roads under this scenario and said the only indication they is intersection performances will remain, as is.
“I’m satisfied that those conditions are not materially impacted negatively, and therefore with that set aside, I feel like the opportunity to be a partner with one of our community participants and businesses is a good one that we should take advantage of,” he said.
Barnett referenced a diagram that showed the vacating of Brook Drive allowing Flavorchem Corporation to acquire parking space and said it is not as though a wall is being built, so to speak.
Ultimately, the council decided to approve a series of measures providing for rezoning certain properties for Flavorchem Corporation, amending an ordinance designating the parcels as a planned unite development and authorizing a campus master plan, and adopting an agreement with the development providing for a license with respect to Brook Drive.