Huntley Village Board set to vote on Freeman Road development after slight changes to plan

Residents lobby village to add sound wall, increase space between construction and residential properties

A digital mock-up shows what the distribution site proposed in the Venture One development would look like from the perspective of residential neighbors to the southeast of the property. A group of residents from the Prairie Oaks subdivision abutting the property worked with Venture One and the village of Huntley to make sure their concerns were heard before the Village Board votes to approve the development on March 11.

The Huntley Village Board is set to vote March 11 on a new development proposal on Freeman Road that promises upwards of 1,000 new jobs in 2022.

Since the proposal was first introduced in January, the village’s plan commission has made a few minor modifications to the development plan at request of a group of residents from the Prairie Oaks subdivision, which borders the site on the east side.

“Going into the proposed development, there was a lot of apprehension,” Prairie Oaks resident Mike Figolah said at the Village Board meeting Thursday. “This is where progress meets rural living and we’re on the front lines.”

Figolah said he and others worked with the village and the project’s developer Venture One Real Estate, a Chicago-based developer, to reach an agreement that would allow most residents to support the development of a 282-acre property at 41W368 Freeman Road, commonly known as Stade Farm.

“We will lose some residents because it’s going to be different,” Figolah said.

The company that will move into the space remains unnamed but will be made public after the development is approved, Huntley Mayor Chuck Sass said at Thursday’s meeting.

Phase one of the plan includes the construction of a 629,186-square-foot distribution center with a 44,186-square-foot office space on the southern lot next to Freeman Road. It also aims to build a 1,000-space employee parking lot south of the building and 720 semitrailer parking spaces.

The development represents a $100 million investment by Venture One and its first phase will bring an estimated $50,000 in property tax revenue to the village, according to the development plan.

Residents’ concerns centered around the noise that construction and the distribution center’s 24/7 operations would bring to the area, as well as what the development might mean for stormwater run-off, preservation of natural wetlands and the protection of local endangered species, according to public comments submitted to the village and included in the agenda packet for Thursday’s meeting.

Disturbances to traffic flow was another concern cited by multiple residents.

The modified development plan will require that the developer build a 12-foot sound wall along the eastern edge of the property to separate the site’s “truck court” from neighboring residential properties. The sound wall will accompany a row of evergreen trees in forming the eastern border of the southern lot.

The construction of a 20-foot barrier made of earth and plants was also added along the eastern border of the property’s northern lot.

A more detailed site map of a new proposal to develop a large property on Freeman Road shows the distribution center planned in the first phase of construction. The company that will move into the site remains unnamed, but has promised to bring upwards of 1,000 jobs to Huntley in 2022. The Huntley Village Board will vote on the development plan in its March 11 meeting.

The village also increased the setbacks required, to at least 200 feet for parking and at least 350 feet for buildings with an additional 2 feet for every 1 foot of building height over 45 feet tall.

In response to traffic concerns, the plan now includes a stipulation that no unattended vehicle parking is allowed on Freeman Road and a new sign will be added on Freeman Road, east of Carriage Way, telling trucks and other vehicles not to block the intersection.

The plan also includes the construction of a new public road called Venture Court, which will provide another way of accessing the property to avoid traffic build-up. A traffic study recommended that improvements also be made to extend Freeman Road and to add turn lanes at multiple key points.

The developer’s stormwater management plan includes “eight detention basins that will collect and then direct the runoff from the site to the southwest to a pipe under Freeman Road and to the northwest to a storm sewer,” according to the petition.

The site plan will leave two of the property’s larger wetland areas alone and promises to “maintain the vegetation, hydrology and habitat” as a way to “provide a natural buffer to the residential subdivision and maintain the existing drainage onto the site.”

Venture One’s mystery client aims to be ready to move into the new building in the second quarter of 2022, meaning they would like to begin working on the site in March of this year, according to the development plan.

The developer wishes to divide the property into four lots with construction to take place on only two of them. The proposal includes construction plans for only one lot, but is asking for pre-approval to develop the second lot without having to come back before the Village Board to do so, according to the petition. Future development of the second lot would be required to stay within the confines of an established set of design criteria.

The plan will go before the Huntley Village Board on March 11 when trustees will vote to approve the annexation and rezoning of the property as well as a special use permit, the planned unit development, and the preliminary and final plat of subdivision for the property. A public hearing on the annexation of the property will also be held at 7 p.m. March 11.

“I just want to get it done, so you can tell us who it’s going to be,” Sass said to a Venture One representative in Thursday’s meeting. “That’s what everybody wants to know.”