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Vote delayed on RiverPlace Marina project

Necessary public hearings not properly scheduled

The Morris Planning Commission was set to vote on zoning requests for the Morris RiverPlace Marina, but the public hearings and vote were canceled Wednesday.

A special meeting was held Wednesday due to a date change for the holidays, but the public hearings were not rescheduled because of this. The letters that are required to be sent to the neighbors of the property did not make it to the residences on time, said Building and Zoning Officer Bill Cheshareck, so the hearings and voting are rescheduled for the Jan. 30 meeting.

Edgewater Resources still gave a presentation on the project for the about 13 people who showed up for the hearings.

The hearings were supposed to be for a special use permit to allow a planned unit development of a barge terminal and marina, as well as rezoning requests for the 83 acres known as the ADM property for manufacturing use and 126 acres for residential use for the marina.

RiverPlace Marina is set to be located along Cemetery Road and the Illinois River.

The new plan is for seven condominium buildings that are 4 1/2 stories high, totaling 126 condos; five two-story townhomes, totaling 28 townhome units; 52 cottages; 59 floating boat houses; a community clubhouse; a 70-room hotel; 208 marina slips; marina business buildings, including retail, boat sales and boat storage; and 1,023 parking spaces. It also adds a private water-skiing lake with about 25 of its own residences.

Since its original proposal in 2006, RiverPlace has added an additional parcel that includes a partnership with ADM for barge fleeting, as well as 220 acres to the east known as the Viking property. The east property will be where the water-skiing lake will be.
Janee Matteson, of Kayak Morris and Forest Beach VIP Camp, which is located near the ADM portion, asked how many barges would be coming in and out of the ADM portion a day. She said she had safety concerns.

This depends on the season, said Brett Madison of ADM. In the middle of grain season, a tow of 9-12 barges may drop off about four or five barges at their other Morris facility currently. But during the winter, like on Wednesday, they saw no business.

The new ADM property would provide parking for barges rather than barges sitting on the river as they do now, said Ronald Schults of Edgewater Resources.

A resident of the corner of Jefferson and Washington streets was concerned with where the project's entrances would be.

The preliminary plans indicated the main entrance for the marina itself will be off of Cemetery Road. There has been talk of a second entrance over a bridge to Washington Street, on the western end of the residential portion, but this is not in the current plan.

If it is executed, it would be adjacent to some industrial properties near there, not toward the residential, said Schults.

City Planner Mike Hoffman said, for his approval, he would be recommending a second access point for emergency access.

Preliminary discussions have indicated the ski lake area would have its own entrance, as well as an emergency entrance near the marina storage buildings and ADM property, said Cheshareck after the meeting.

The marina hearings will be held at 7 p.m. at the Jan. 30 Planning Commission meeting in the Morris Municipal Services Facility. The city council will vote on the commission's recommendations and the annexations needed for some of the property at is Feb. 4 meeting at 7 p.m.

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