A new Rockford development should bring in stores that the Forest City has never seen before, but some residents' backyards line the edge of the property those stores will be built on. Neighbors have concerns they plan to bring right to city hall.
Behind a giant field near Rote Road and Perryville Road, you'll find a residential area. The quiet farmland is what attracted people like Dawn Miller to her street, Grandchester Place.
"I did do some research and found out it was commercial and farther down the line it was going to be developed." -she says.
Properties on the Grandchester's West side touch C-1 and C-2 commercial zones.
"C-1 is more of an office complex and C-2 you can go all the way up to like a retail shopping center but they do restrict it to no liquor, no drive-thrus, no high intensity it's just things that are open during the day and closed at night." -Miller says.
An agreement between the city and development company First Rockford got aldermen's approval in March. First Rockford wants to create a shopping center called the Perryville Promenade with a Meijer grocery store as its anchor, but developers have to make zoning changes to the property's East end. They say a Meijer can't be built unless the land is a C-3 commercial zone. That has residents worried.
"We'd like to preserve our neighborhood, we'd like to keep the integrity of everything, we're worried about traffic, noise and light pollution. I mean you get that from your C-1 and C-2 but not as intense as you're going to get it with your C-3 and of course our property values are a major concern." -Miller explains.
Perryville Promenade supporters believe First Rockford wants to be part of the solution, not create a problem, especially for issues like water. Residents say their neighborhood is prone to flooding.
"The developer is paying particular attention to the drainage that goes down the middle of the lot and they're working with the county to help capture land to help create a retention area/pond/greenspace something that looks nice along Perryville and plus some of the water will be conveyed underneath Perryville into another retention pond across the street there." -says 1st Ward Alderman Tim Durkee.
The city's Zoning Board of Appeals still has to hear First Rockford's case to change part of the zoning. That happens July 16th, then it goes to the full board. Residents hope the ZBA will hear their side of the story, but Alderman Durkee thinks it's pretty much a done deal that First Rockford will get approved.
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