LOCKPORT – The Lockport City Council approved Wednesday an agreement that will allow a Murphy Express service station to be built adjacent to the Aldi grocery store on South Farrell Road, after a public hearing during which the site's closest neighbor expressed objections.
The council unanimously approved a proposal by Shelby LLC to amend a 2006 annexation agreement that had a provision that no gas station would be allowed on the property.
William Ladas, who owns one of the two homes at the Clover Ridge 1 subdivision, stated concerns about the city removing a condition that he said he and other neighbors had requested of former Mayor Frank Mitchell when the original Aldi construction project came to the council in late 2005. At the time, the developers asked for a change from commercial to residential zoning, which was approved.
Also expressing concern about a noise, light and traffic increase, Ladas told the council he was "extremely disappointed after all the hard work" he and other neighbors had put into getting some concessions the last time around.
Alderman Darren Deskin told the council that it needed to take into account that the Aldi, which was the party that entered into the original agreement with the city, had not expressed concerns about the changes.
"I understand the gentleman's concern, but this comes up every time an empty lot is to be developed next to a residential area," Deskin said. "It's progress."
Council members also approved a separate annexation agreement with Shelby for an additional 4.7 acres of property adjacent to the 1.6-acre Aldi lot to be incorporated as part of the Rose Lockport Center.
The agreement includes a special use request for commercial development, such as retail shops and restaurants, on the property. Due to Shelby's plans for further development on the property, a 3-foot berm and 8-foot evergreen trees on the western border of the property, as well as a large detention pond, will be constructed.
Aldermen Jim Petrakos told Ladas that while he appreciated the concerns, any new development "has pros and cons" and while the new proposal "is not ideal," the berm and trees would minimize intrusive noise and light.
Ladas said after the motion was approved that he was "a realist" and knew the city would move ahead with the project.
"I just wanted them to know my concerns," he said.