Local News

Homewood zoning meeting over proposed warehouse continued after 3 hours

A public hearing over a rezoning for a controversial warehouse distribution center on the site of the former Calumet Country Club in Homewood had to be paused after three hours and will resume next week.

Residents attended a planning and zoning commission meeting Thursday in person and via video conferencing, asking questions about the trees, fencing, traffic and working hours for the future employees of the facility. At 10 p.m., the commission said it was approaching curfew. The meeting will resume at 7 p.m. Feb. 17. 

Residents left the meeting with chants of “truck no.”

Homewood last month approved a settlement with Arizona developer Diversified Partners, owned by Walt Brown Jr., including a TIF district for the area, support for a Class 8 Cook County property tax assessment reduction and a $1 million advance on construction costs that will be reimbursed to the village via the TIF.

Citizens recently formed a group called South Suburbs for Greenspace over Concrete in opposition to the industrial use of the land. SSGOC made a public call out prior to the meeting asking concerned residents to attend.

In order to complete the development, the property needs to be rezoned from open space to limited manufacturing, which also requires a change in the town’s comprehensive plan. The planning and zoning commission makes recommendations to the village board.

Legal and engineering representatives of Diversified Partners made presentations to the planning and zoning commission Thursday. Commission members asked questions about the floodplain, building heights and truck routes in and out of the facility, among other things.

The site plan shared at Thursday’s meeting included three entrances along 175th Street, which is in Homewood and across from a residential area. Two of those were right in, right out only. 

As part of the settlement, the village agreed to reimburse the developer up to $100,000 in legal fees associated with trying to move the main entrance to Dixie Highway in Hazel Crest. Engineer Drew Walker said the plan would still likely include entrances on 175th Street, even if the main entrance was moved.

The settlement was in response to a petition from Diversified Partners to disconnect from Homewood. The firm could then be annexed by Hazel Crest, which borders the property on three sides. Homewood attorneys believe the property meets the seven legal criteria for disconnection. 

If it were allowed to disconnect, Homewood would lose any ability to mitigate potential negative consequences the property may have, particularly on the residents of the nearby Governor’s Park neighborhood. If the terms of the settlement aren’t met by Homewood before a deadline in May, the village will owe Diversified Partners $250,000 and the developer could return to court to disconnect.

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