Crystal Lake unanimously denies NVA trucking expansion request

NVA Transportation’s property will not be rezoned for a truck terminal

Crystal Lake residents attend a city council meeting on Feb. 20, 2024 in opposition of a truck terminal request made by NVA Transportation.

The Crystal Lake City Council unanimously denied NVA Transportation’s request for a truck terminal expansion late Tuesday after months of resident pushback.

About 100 residents attended the meeting in opposition. The Crystal Lake Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously voted against the plans in January after a seven-hour meeting, which drew a similarly sized crowd.

NVA Transportation, at 7013 Sands Road, requested the construction of a freight terminal on its 22-acre property that would be 28 feet tall and about 36,200 square feet with 328 truck parkings spaces. The proposal for the new structure included 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.

NVA Transportation asked the city council to approve a special-use permit for the truck terminal, a final planned unit development with some variations.

NVA Transportation owner Ivan Nartsev spent over $634,000 in efforts to develop the project, architect Aleksandr Vaysman said.

Many city council members said they believed the location was not a good fit for the terminal and cited resident and safety concerns in voting against the proposal.

“I really like your business; I just don’t like where it is,” council member Denise Smith said. “I feel like you’re trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.”

Major resident concerns include increased traffic, effects on well water, potential flooding and noise and light pollution. Residents have continued to organize against the expansion, creating the website 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.

NVA Transportation, located at 7013 Sands Rd., Crystal Lake. July 17, 2023.

Adjustments were made for the final city council meeting, which created a hill with more trees and subtracting over 50 parking spaces north of the lot closest to the residential area.

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 a more recent report from the McHenry-Lake County Soil & Water Conservation District concluded the soils could easily be contaminated and seep into nearby streams.

Resident pushback was a big reason why the plan was denied. Mayor Haig Haleblian said he appreciates people working in the trucking industry, but couldn’t risk any of the safety concerns happening.

“We’re elected to represent the people and what’s best for Crystal Lake,” he said.

NVA’s requests may not be over, as its attorney Mark Daniel has hinted that the company could build a similar structure without a rezoning request.

“The petitioner has rights on what they can put there,” council member Brett Hopkins said.

NVA Transportation might still need city council approval, depending on the proposal, even if it’s within zoning allowances, Crystal Lake Community Development Director Kathryn Cowlin said.

“Freight terminal is only allowed as a special use in an M [manufacturing] zoning district,” she said.

Resident Kevin McVearry said after Tuesday night’s meeting he appreciates the hard work of city staff, the planning and zoning commission and city council.

“The safety and well being of the Crystal Lake community was well served tonight,” he said.