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Business park in city of McHenry gets variance for apartments

Developer wants to use part of industrial park to build rental property

McHENRY – An undeveloped business park off Route 31 could house some apartments in addition to the proposed commercial space.

The McHenry City Council OK’d a petition from Prairie Pointe Land Development Corporation, which owns the 54.26-acre property at the corner of Route 31 and Veterans Parkway on the south side of the city.

The company hopes the variance approved Monday, which would allow the construction of apartment buildings on the some of the lots, can spur interest in the property. The remainder of the property would remain zoned business park and industrial.

The developer would still have to come to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Council to move forward with a specific plan.

Since its annexation in 2003, the company has been trying to develop the business park, but there has been little to no interest in the property, according to its petition. However, the residential property on the other side of Veterans Parkway was successfully developed despite the ongoing economic crunch.

Part of the problem is that McHenry has an overabundance of vacant land and buildings zoned for business park and industrial purposes, said Deputy City Administrator Doug Martin in his report to the City Council.

But Alderman Andy Glab, the sole “no” vote against the variances, worried that by repeatedly changing the zoning laid out in the city’s comprehensive plan, the council is throwing off the balance of single family residences, multi-family residences, business parks and industrial spaces.

“We’re changing business park to residential, and that is throwing everything out of whack as far as percentages,” he said, adding that “I didn’t vote against apartments; I voted against changing a business park to apartments.”

The council approved a similar change when it rezoned what is now the Patriot Estates subdivision, which was originally planned as business park, according to council documents.

Apartments and other multi-family dwellings are more in demand than business parks, Martin wrote in his analysis as the numbers of those who lost their homes to foreclosure, empty nesters and young professionals grow.

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