The Joliet City Council last week denied a special use permit for a business owner looking to relocate his business on West Jefferson Street.
Albert Kopinski, owner of Crusader Customs, which provides custom rims and other customizations for vehicles, applied for a special use permit to operate his new store at 2409 W. Jefferson Street. He currently operates a location at 1020 W. Jefferson.
The proposed new location previously housed a Car Quest auto parts store and came to the city council with a recommendation to approve from the city’s planning and zoning commission.
City planning director Kendall Jackson said that the owner planned to continue to provide customization of vehicles at the new site and would display one vehicle, that he had customized, for sale in the front.
“It’s just another way to showcase his wares,” said Jackson.
Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk said that he had received an email from someone objecting to the plan.
“They didn’t believe that this fit the neighborhood specifically with the hospital, St. Joseph, and the TIF that we passed,” said O’Dekirk referring to a special Tax Increment Funding district that was approved in January 2017 funds from which will be used to rehab the area around the hospital.
“Will this adversely affect the medical campus at St. Joes?,” asked O’Dekirk.
“I don’t think that this will have an adverse impact,” said Jackson.
Council member Terry Morris said that the current location has had issues disturbing nearby neighbors with loud music.
Councilman Larry Hug, who along with Morris, Don Dickinson, John Gerl, Jan Quillman and Bettye Gavin voted against approving the special use, said that the business doesn’t fit with the medical use planned for the TIF district and the surrounding business district.
“That’s right on the border of what’s going to turn in to a medical TIF,” said Hug. Despite the property sitting outside of the district, Hug said that the city is looking for businesses that will fit with the medical use of the area surrounding St. Joseph Hospital.
“It’s just outside the TIF but still the entire area you want to be careful what you put there,” he said.
Owner Albert Kopinski said that he couldn’t comment on the denial other than to say that he was “working on it” and planned to re-apply to the city soon.
Kopinski’s denial was the second time in a month the city council has said no to a business owner’s proposal for a new outlet. In December, city council members denied a special use permit to the owners of a proposed 12,000 sq. ft liquor store at 2155 West Jefferson St. Liquor commissioners said that the recommendation to deny the use was due to the close proximity of other area businesses also selling liquor.
Council member Pat Mudron was the lone vote in favor of granting the use for the liquor store on December 19 and along with Mike Turk voted in favor of the auto customization shop in January.
The new hospital TIF district area encompasses the land around the hospital district including Glenwood Ave. on the north, Republic Ave. on the west, Hammes Ave. to the east and parts of Jefferson Street on the southern edge.
The TIF is expected to generate around $17.95 million to be reinvested in to the area over the 23-year lifespan of the district. Those funds could be directed toward improving public infrastructure as well as the surrounding streetscape, landscaping, and signage.