Local

Developer of former Dean Foods plant in Huntley seeking special use permit

The Dean Foods facility is photographed on Tuesday, July 3, 2018 in Huntley.
The Dean Foods facility is photographed on Tuesday, July 3, 2018 in Huntley.

Country Delight Inc., which is planning to operate out of the former Dean Foods plant in Huntley, will be seeking a special use permit to allow for the outside storage of vehicles on the property during the Village Board’s Thursday meeting.

The approval of this permit is required before the dairy distributor – which transports about 52 million pounds of milk a year and serves about 400 stores in the Chicago area – occupies the building.

Currently, the company has been operating out of the transportation facility on the north side of Mill Street. Should the special use permit be approved Thursday, Country Delight will shift truck parking to the plant.

Public response to the project has been mixed. Several Huntley residents who live adjacent to the plant have voiced concerns about the potential traffic issues once delivery trucks start circulating through town again.

Country Delight estimated that truck traffic will be around a third of traffic when Dean Foods was in operation. According to the site plan, the proposed storage and distribution by Country Delight includes the outside storage of 30 tractor trucks and 30 semi-trailers within the parking area.

Country Delight expects about 75 to 105 employees in Huntley: 10 to 15 employees in office operations, five to 10 salesmen, 10 to 20 warehouse employees and 50 to 60 drivers.

The shuttering of the Dean Foods building caused 131 people to lose their jobs, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act letter sent by the company.

Hours of operation will be from 4 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays.

The Dean Foods plant in Huntley was one of several that Dean Foods planned to shut down in 2018. According to the Dean Foods 2017 annual investors report, decreased dairy consumption trends and a highly competitive industry were cited as “significant challenges” in 2017.

A 250,000-square-foot Walmart milk-processing plant announced in 2016 also was cited as a factor.

The Village Board meeting will be at 7 p.m. at the Huntley Municipal Complex, 10987 Main St.

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