A handful of Sturtevant residents told trustees Tuesday that they are opposed to rezoning land at Highways 11 and H because of what they fear it could mean for their homes in the future.
The Sturtevant Village Board held a public hearing during the regular board meeting as part of the process to change the village’s land use plan. Currently, the properties are zoned commercial and residential, but land owner Joe Mrazek is asking trustees to unify the zoning under a single industrial heading to better attract developers.
Residents who live along Highway H, though, don’t see the point of changing the land use plan if there isn’t a buyer already making inquiries because of what they thought it could mean for their own properties.
“It just doesn’t make sense to change it all if there isn’t a buyer in mind,” Ryan Konicek. “You’re limiting me to what I can do with my own land.”
But Village Administrator/Clerk Mary Cole explained that changing the zoning only affects property owners if they sell their land and/or change the use of their properties. Residents who have one home on their lot, for example, can keep it that way, but they cannot make changes like dividing their parcels to build additional houses.
Several residents voiced concern that the board was trying to shove the change down the throats of land owners without their input, but Trustee Chris Larsen said that wasn’t the case.
“It’s not our goal to change the way you use your property,” he said. “It’s our job to look to the future and propose what the village will look like, especially the busy corridor within one to three miles to the expressway.”
Ian Connaughton admitted he was in the minority by supporting the rezone.
“I’m for this progress, which probably puts me on the other side of most of the people here,” he said. “I’ve lived there for 20 years and Highway H is just too busy now. I only want to know if you’re planning to turn the land into another Renaissance Business Park.”
Village President Steve Jansen said that’s not the board’s call to make, but extending the commercial corridor along Highway H, extending south from the Renaissance seems like a logical step. Avoiding spot zoning is also a concern.
“Businesses look at zoning when they’re shopping for new locations so having this in place will hopefully mean we’re bringing in more jobs, which is the name of the game,” he explained. “But we also have to avoid having spot zoning where we have residential alternating with commercial because that just creates more problems down the road.”
There was also some concern about the need to attract new businesses when so many businesses further east on Durand Avenue sit vacant.
Jansen agreed those buildings need to be addressed, and told residents that trustees are already putting plans in place for a new development plan using a tax incremental financing district once the current TID – which includes the Renaissance and the plot where United Natural Foods is building – closes in 2016.
The next step in the process is for the Planning Commission to vote on a recommendation for rezone and then send their decision to the board for a final determination.