Crystal Lake to make final decision on truck expansion request Tuesday

Planning & Zoning Commission unanimously voted against the request in January

Residents listen to a presentation during a Planning and Zoning meeting at Crystal Lake City Hall on Wednesday, January 24, 2024. Crystal Lake trucking company NVA Transportation is seeking a rezoning of their Sands Road property to expand the business . Ryan Rayburn for Shaw Local

Crystal Lake City Council will vote on NVA Transportation’s rezoning request Tuesday after the Crystal Lake Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously voted against it in January.

More than 100 people packed into Crystal Lake City Hall on Jan. 24 to stand against the request during the lengthy commission meeting Wednesday, Jan. 24, that carried into the early hours of Jan. 25.

“I do not see this proposal as a mutually beneficial opportunity from the perspective of the residents,” Commissioner Natasha Teetsov said at the January meeting.

NVA Transportation, at 7013 Sands Road, is looking to create a freight terminal on its 22-acre property 28 feet tall and about 36,200 square feet with 328 truck parkings spaces. The proposal for the new structure includes seven service bays, storage areas, an office area, a warehouse area and an indoor loading dock.

The truck terminal would be used for warehousing, office headquarters, truck leasing, truck repairs and outdoor storage.

“The use does not include overnight or long-term lounging accommodation or general activities that one would find in what is commonly known as a truck stop,” according to city documents.

To get the request approved, NVA needs a City Council super majority of of at least five votes.

NVA submitted revised plans to the council that would create a 27-foot hill at the north end of the property with trees and fencing.

NVA has considered a backup plan that would not require a rezoning request, according to city documents. The trucking company could build a larger warehouse and distribution facility “closer to the north line,” Daniel said in a letter to City Council.

“This plan is not submitted as a threat of any kind, but NVA’s witnesses uniformly testified that there are far more intrusive plans available under existing zoning regulations and that most of these plans would not require a distinct zoning approval,” Daniel said.

Major resident concerns include increased traffic, effects on well water, flooding and noise and light pollution. Residents have continued to organize against the expansion, creating the website SaveSandsRoad.com and an online petition that has more than 1,800 signatures.

Over the months, NVA has made adjustments to its plan to accommodate some concerns. The most current includes an extended water main to avoid using well water, a designated left-turn lane on Sands Road to ease traffic congestion and a gated fence to ensure security.

Studies on traffic, environmental impacts and home values were completed by the city and concluded the project would not have substantial effects on the area.

But concerns still remain. The McHenry-Lake County Soil & Water Conservation District said the property site is a “sensitive aquifer recharge area,” according to a report by the organization.

More than 90% of the property has soils that are highly erodible and high permeability that could be a “high potential” for contaminants to quickly move through the soils into wells and nearby streams.

More than 84% of the site is reported to have “severe building limitations,” according to the report. The water district recommends a “small building of less than three stories without a basement” to avoid future problems such as cracked foundations.

Despite the report, NVA attorney Mark Daniel is confident the proposed development will work. Civil engineering firm Jacob and Hefner Associates evaluated the groundwater would not migrate to residential properties to the north.

“The site will be conveying water appropriately and the soils are appropriate for development of the use,” Daniel said in an email to the Northwest Herald.

NVA said they will follow federal, state and local stormwater regulations, and civil engineers proposed to have retaining walls and detention basins in the development. Bioretention facilities also are in the plan “to treat the stormwater runoff prior to infiltration,” according to city documents.