MORRIS – A project that was first proposed in November 2013 is in motion.
Morris City Council voted, 8-1, Monday night to approve an annexation agreement between the city of Morris and Costco Wholesale Corporation and K&S Real Estate LLC for the annexation of about 140 acres in Saratoga Township along North Lisbon Road in Grundy County.
Costco will spend an estimated $120 million for a 255,996-square-foot meat processing plant, Costco Development Manager Ted Johnson told the council Monday night. The site plan was recently downsized, but Costco intends to expand the facility eventually, he said.
“We tried out a larger shell, and the [cost] numbers just got crazy,” Johnson said. “When we decide to expand we’ll come back to the city and do this process again.”
The building will employ about 155 people and approximately 220 during peak times of the year. Johnson said the plant would be producing more product around Labor Day, Fourth of July and Memorial Day. The meat processing plant will function best when paired with an adjoining depot, Johnson said.
Alderman Don Matteson voted no to the agreement after raising concerns about sewage discharge.
“I think the citizens of Morris should be supplied with equal amounts of potable water before a meatball place,” Matteson said to the committee as the meeting closed.
In the public hearing, Alderman Randy Larson’s expressed concerns about the city’s ability to absorb sewage discharge from the plant.
The Water and Sewer Committee, particularly Aldermen Julian Houston and Duane Wolfe, tried to assure Larson that Morris City Engineer Larry Good has done extensive work on the project since 2013 toward the goal of ensuring environmental safety.
Houston pointed out Good has worked with engineers of Costco’s California meat processing facility to find the proper amounts of discharge allowable. Morris City Attorney Scott Belt said Costco has every incentive to keep the numbers in check and surcharges will be administered if they surpass the limits. The discharge contents also will be tested within 30 days of opening and each year.
Larson asked about discharge rate into the site’s retention pond. Building and Zoning Officer Bill Cheshareck said the pond can’t release any more water than it does now into the water main.
Council also approved the Morris Planning Commission’s recommendation to rezone the future plant site property to a manufacturing district.