Montgomery Village Board members had questions, but voiced support Monday, March 13, for plans to develop a 204-acre industrial and commercial development on the village’s west side.
In a 6-0 vote, board members accepted a positive recommendation on the project from the village’s Planning and Zoning Commission and agreed to place the plans on a future meeting agenda for a final vote.
Karis Acquisitions LLC of Schaumburg is seeking Village Board approval to subdivide, rezone and develop the vacant parcel near the southeast corner of Orchard Road and Caterpillar Drive as the Karis Center for Commerce.
During Monday’s meeting, the Village Board completed the first public reading of the developer’s request for a special use permit, additional special uses, a planned unit development agreement, rezoning request, and a preliminary plat of subdivision for the project.
As proposed, the project would be developed in three phases, beginning with the construction of a 500,000-square-foot building on the southern portion of the property just west of the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe railway tracks. The building would have an adjoining rail yard and house Ravago, a Belgium-based firm that is active in polymer and chemical distribution, plastic recycling and compounding of plastic and elastomeric raw materials.
Sonya Abt, the village’s community development coordinator, said subsequent development phases for the project would yield a 300,000-square-foot addition to the building along with a second 300,000-square-foot building and a 1.2 million-square-foot warehouse/distribution facility with outdoor storage.
The project also includes a 5.75-acre parcel zoned B-2 for retail business use along the east side of Orchard Road south of Caterpillar Drive.
Traffic access to the site would be off an extension of Galena Road east from Orchard Road and from the construction of a new road, Karis Way, to extend from Caterpillar Drive south onto the property.
In addition to its location within village limits, the project site is within the boundaries of Oswego SD308, the Oswego Fire Protection District and Oswego Public Library District. Portions of the property are located in the Oswegoland and Fox Valley park districts. The entire project is within the Kendall County portion of the village.
According to information provided by Karis to the village, the initial Ravago facility would be similar to another facility operated by the firm in Medina, Ohio, and function as the firm’s primary plastic resin distribution center to serve customers in the Chicago region.
An estimated 80-90 employees would work at the facility with jobs including customer service, packaging/production operators, maintenance technicians and forklift operators. Wages would range from $20 to $30 an hour for hourly employees, while management salaries would range from $60,000 to $170,000 a year.
The initial phase of the project has an estimated value of $75 million to $90 million and an anticipated operational date pending village approvals of July 31, 2024.
Responding to questions from board members during Monday’s meeting, Karis officials and the firm’s consultants agreed to change their plans for a 5-foot-wide sidewalk adjoining Karis Way, a planned north-south street that would extend the length of the project site. Instead of a sidewalk, firm officials said they would install an 8-foot-wide bike path adjoining the street.
In making the request, board members said that connectivity for pedestrians has been a continuing issue in the village, especially on the village’s west side.
Board member Tom Betsinger described the bike path as “ridiculously important.”
Board member, Matt Bauman described the bike path as a “small ask” by the village given the size of the project.
Board member Steve Jungermann questioned whether the Oswego Fire Protection District has or would need to buy additional apparatus to provide fire suppression to the buildings on the site.
Abt said the fire district is aware of the project plans and officials with the agency have expressed more concern about assuring emergency access to the site and added that the fire district “has no specific objections” to the plans.
The fire district’s Station No. 3 adjoins the project site.
In a previous memo, Abt said that the proposed development is consistent with the intent of the village’s comprehensive land use plan. Village staff recommends approval of the requested rezoning, PUD agreement and special use permit subject to a series of conditions, including the finalizing of sanitary sewer plans for the site with the Fox Metro Water Reclamation District and working with the fire district to address concerns about fire hydrant locations and access.
During a meeting March 2, the village’s Planning and Zoning Commission voted 7-0 to approve a recommendation in support of the project.