The Joliet City Council on Tuesday approved a plan for 570 apartments at Rock Run Crossings.
The project faced opposition, and the council was divided in a 5-2 vote approving the plan.
But the council sided with the plan that developer for Cullinan Properties who said the revised plan was needed for its mixed-use project that is designed to combine residences, retail, restaurants, hotels, offices and other uses on the 309-acre site at the crossings of Interstates 55 and 80.
Cullinan reduced its plan from a previous proposal of 760 apartments.
Cullinan Senior Adviser Chris West made a presentation at the start of the council meeting defending the future apartments as “upscale” with an estimated 53 students moving in over the course of 2024 to 2028 as they are built.
“It’s not marketed to families,” West said. “It’s marketed to young professionals, empty nesters,” he said.
But council member Jan Quillman blasted the plan as one that would produce “extreme overcrowding” and criticized a waiver from the city’s anti-monotony standards in building design.
“Do we want a cheap apartment complex?” Quillman asked. “We’ve had too many of those in the past.”
Joliet business leader Ed Dollinger also criticized the apartment plan and its potential impact on Rock Run Crossings.
“Don’t cheapen it by building apartments that will attract an element of crime that no one wants,” Dollinger said. “Let’s take a step back and review the possibilities of a more adult living area.”
Dollinger suggested building condominiums and town homes that would be owner occupied.
Troy School District Superintendent Paul Schrik said the district wanted to hear how students’ education would be funded because the apartments will be built in a Tax Increment Financing District that redirects property taxes to the Rock Run Crossings development.
“We don’t want this to be done on the back of our current taxpayers,” Schrik said.
Council member Pat Mudron, who is supporting the project, said Cullinan has delivered on what it said it would do so far, noting that a new interchange is being built at I-55 and Route 59 to support Rock Run Crossings.
Voting no were Quillman and Larry Hug.