Residents living near a proposed development to the west and north of the Menards store in the 6300 block of Illinois Road voiced concerns to the Fort Wayne Plan Commission on Monday, saying they expect noise and light pollution to get worse as the development progresses.
“First off, I think we're excited to see this land developed. It's been empty for many, many years,” Tom Lucas, who lives on nearby Rewill Drive and represented the Poplar Ridge subdivision, said. “Obviously, it would create jobs. Obviously it would create a revenue stream and possibly make Fort Wayne more attractive.”
But Lucas said future phases of the project have the potential to encroach on existing property lines from the nearby neighborhood. The neighbors, Lucas said, want to get ahead of the project to make sure there aren't problems in phases 2 and 3 of the development. Specifically, Lucas said neighbors are concerned with the loss of homes from the neighborhood to make way for extended roadways and connections.
“We don't want to get to that point, so that's why we want to bring that up,” Lucas said. “There are other parts of this plan that we believe need to be discussed right now before Kelley Group or Menards spends money to develop this site and we're sitting here a year or two from now saying that road is within 10 feet of our property lines.”
Residents would also like to know when construction is to begin and how the developers plan to control dust, noise and debris from the site. Additionally, Lucas said residents also feel strongly that there must be a large concrete sound barrier along a planned roadway that runs behind the homes on Rewill Drive to control the light and noise from the auto dealers who are expected to set up shop there.
“There's going to be thousands of automobiles sitting there and lights on them,” Lucas said. “ And I don't blame the owner of them to want to protect that property but it's going to change what we see out our windows.”
Called Illinois Crossing, the development takes advantage of current general commercial and limited industrial zoning in the area. Plans up for consideration by the Plan Commission call for eight buildings. Tom Kelley, president of Kelley Auto Real Estate and Kelley Automotive Group of Fort Wayne, announced in March plans to spend $45 million to $50 million to relocate auto dealerships to that location.
In other business, a development plan from RED Development of Overland Park, Kansas, for a private street with a roundabout through the middle of Jefferson Pointe in southwest Fort Wayne received no opposition during Monday's hearing.
The addition of the new street would mean the interior of the center, which is currently only accessible by foot, could be reached by vehicles from entrances on Illinois Road and West Jefferson Boulevard.