WOODSTOCK – A local property owner wants to transform his empty warehouse into a banquet center, but local residents are concerned about neighborhood parking.
Rodney Poore owns a facility at 333 E. Judd St. and wants to repurpose the 10,000-square-foot building. It has sat empty for two years, having previously been the site of KHC Spring Corp., a manufacturing company that shut down after the tsunami in Japan negatively affected its business, according to city documents.
“The area near my building has changed over the years,” Poore said. “As manufacturing has dissipated in the area, buildings have sat vacant and in need of repair. They become eyesores and do nothing to help the local economy. … I want Woodstock to succeed as much as I want to succeed personally, and I am proud to offer my building for this kind of reimagined use.”
Woodstock city officials recently rezoned the site from limited manufacturing to service and retail district so that Poore could get started on his plan, despite some concern about whether there would be enough parking for the facility. Poore plans to rent out the facility for parties, weddings, corporate and education training, fitness classes and more.
The building has 28 parking spaces. Poore also has a lease on property at 327 E. Judd St., which will supply an additional 10 to 15 spaces. Poore is in negotiations to buy a vacant lot adjacent to the proposed banquet center that has 50 spaces, he said.
Because he hasn’t completed building plans yet, it’s unclear how many spaces he will be required to provide, city officials said.
Neighbors were concerned about the project at a recent public meeting, and a petition that went before Woodstock’s Planning Commission opposing the change had 26 signatures.
Some were concerned that people would park in the neighborhoods, and others were concerned about increased traffic in the neighborhood as well, especially because of the demographics of the neighborhood and the number of school bus stops in the area.
“This is an area where many children play,” neighborhood resident Estelle Mills said. “You can walk by anytime and see children playing outside.”