News - Joliet and Will County

Joliet neighbors object to Berlinsky scrapyard plan

Council to vote Tuesday on plan to convert long-time scrapyard into trucking facility

A plan to convert the Berlinsky Scrap Corp. into a trucking operation will likely face opposition from neighbors before the Joliet City Council votes on Tuesday.

The roughly 100-year-old scrapyard on Paige Avenue would cease to exist, if the city gives the approvals sought by American Property Investments, which would acquire the site.

About a dozen residents opposed to the plan appeared at City Hall on Monday, just as the City Council wrapped up a workshop meeting and went into closed session. Instead of meeting with the council, the residents met with an attorney for American Property Investments.

Lawyer David Sweis told the neighbors that the new use would be an improvement over the scrap yard, creating less noise and fewer trucks. He promised landscaping to improve the view from their homes and a detention pond to ease flooding problems.

“You’re not going to look at scrap metal outside your window,” Sweis told the neighbors.

He said they would have to look through “30 feet of landscaping” to see any trucks inside the new facility “and then we’ll have a privacy fence.”

The future operation will be “a place where they need to park trucks,” Sweis said, mentioning Amazon as a primary user.

The neighbors, some of whom spoke English and some of whom spoke only Spanish, appeared skeptical.

“I don’t think it’s going to change for the better,” one woman said to Sweis.

Even after Sweis and others, including Berlinsky Scrap owner Kenneth Glassman, spoke with the residents for more than a half-hour, many of them signed onto a petition that had been circulating around the neighborhood opposing the plan.

Berlinsky Scrap is in an old section of the city where industrial buildings border houses.

“How can you call that an industrial zone?” asked Sandra Aguirre. “It’s more residential than it is industrial.”

Aguirre, a Democratic precinct committeewoman for the area, said the residents would be back at the Tuesday meeting of the council. She said they got an errant message on when the Monday meeting started, which is why they came late.

The residents were represented at the Monday meeting, however, by Joliet Township Clerk Alicia Morales, whose mother lives in the area and who spoke on their behalf.

“This would unfairly burden our community, which is already facing polluted air and deteriorating roads,” Morales told the council during a public comment period shortly before the meeting ended.

American Property Investments needs a special use permit for its plan, which was recommended for approval by the Zoning Board of Appeals.