CHICAGO (CBS) — Balancing economic growth with quality of life can be a struggle for some towns. In Plainfield, dozens of residents say one current development plan would put their quality of life in the loss column.
CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports Plainfield residents find bliss by spending time in their backyards, even with 143rd Street right behind them.
“It’s 30 feet from our property line to the street,” said Shannon Abbatacola, a Plainfield resident.
But residents say plans for a new, $1.5 million square foot Diageo distribution warehouse, about half a mile away, will turn the residential area into a truck zone.
“You’re talking about turning a residential area, essentially, into an industrial park,” said Annmarie Pedraza, another Plainfield resident.
The new warehouse would be just over a mile from the spirit maker’s current plant, both book-ending a stretch of 143rd Street. In the middle are two subdivisions.
Numbers vary, but Plainfield’s planning director confirms at least 250 additional semi-trucks would drive that stretch every day, fueling more than traffic concerns.
“Me, as a mother, I don’t feel safe for my kids to be out here. One accident, that semi could be up here,” said Abbatacola.
“It will be difficult to even have conversations out here. You get enough of that truck traffic going by at 45-50 miles per hour, it’s a health issue, too, with all the exhaust fumes,” said Gary Milkeris, another Plainfield resident.
Abbatacola, Pedraza, and Milkeris are just three of dozens of residents that discussed their concerns at a meeting Tuesday, along with a petition started after they learned of the plan two weeks ago.
“This is obviously a very important project for the village,” said John Proux, the Plainfield Director of Planning.
Plainfield’s planning director defended the use of 143rd Street, even as some components of the overall development are being revamped.
“We believe the proposed street is appropriate for that level of traffic,” said Proux.
Diageo is one of Plainfield’s largest employers, according to officials. More than 600 people work at the plant and the new warehouse would likely bring hundreds of more employees.
A company spokesperson says they understand the community’s concerns and hope plan changes will help. Those changes should be ready next month.