By Kevin Boneske
HOWARD – A planned development district (PDD) to construct a new 14,000-square-foot retail/office building in front of 38,000 square feet of mini-warehouse/storage units at 1745 and 1751 Velp Ave. received final approval Aug. 23 by the village board.
The PDD was sought by Amy and Andy Cote and Steve Van Straten, who purchased the property and proposed what they called “a major cleanup of this eyesore,” located on “the gateway to Howard.”
The office building will house their business, NV Technologies Fire & Security.
Behind the office building, the site plan includes five mini-warehouse/storage buildings, with three of the buildings having 10×24-foot units, one building with 14×45-foot units and another building with 15×45-foot units.
Conditions of approval include incorporating mini-warehousing standards into the development and having the village’s engineering department approve a stormwater plan.
Van Straten also owns the Avenue Bar adjacent to the property.
Community Development Director Dave Wiese said the PDD was necessary because it allows different uses, and the village no longer allows mini-warehouses in business zones, with the property having been zoned B-2 Highway Commercial.
The project was unanimously recommended a week earlier by the village’s Plan Commission.
Trustee Craig McAllister was opposed when the board approved a conditional use request from Vertical Bridge Development LLC to locate a monopole cell tower at 3640 Spring Green Road, in Spring Green Park.
“I feel that people that are living by a park should have a basic idea that a park will not become anything industrialized, and I feel like putting a cell tower in a park is a big step in doing that,” he said. “I just wanted it pulled (from the consent agenda), so I could vote against it. I know it’s an exercise in futility, and I know that Vertical Bridge has all the power in the world to do whatever they really want to do with it.”
Wiese said state law now prohibits municipalities from denying wireless tower permits solely for aesthetic reasons, limiting the height of towers to under 200 feet or requiring they be placed on public property.
“You basically have to have restrictions that are put in place that are reasonable,” he said. “You can’t all of a sudden say the thing’s got to be made out of gold or copper or those kinds of things. With that being said, the communities have to work with the companies, hand-in-hand, a little bit more to find suitable locations.”
Wiese said Spring Green Park is a large parcel where the tower could be located “in an area that we would think could be less intrusive to any residents in the area.”
Mike Bieneik of LCC Telecom Services informed the commission, which unanimously recommended approval, the 130-foot monopole tower will be constructed on a 75×75-foot leased parcel in a heavily-wood area in the park to expand service for Cellcom.
“Basically, we’re building up the entire network in this area to get coverage, because it’s very lacking for Cellcom,” he said.