JOLIET – Part of the mission statement of the Will County Board’s Ad Hoc Economic Development Committee is to make sure policies are business friendly and work toward economic growth.
But concerns about regulations that could be harmful to business growth continue to grow among some county officials.
Will County Center for Economic Development President and CEO John Greuling said oftentimes, prospective and existing businesses will run into delays with regulations and permits.
Committee member Steve Balich, R-Homer Glen, said he wanted to reconsider every part of the county’s building code two years ago, but the county’s land use department didn’t want to. Recently, he wanted to go over every part of the zoning code, but it was voted against.
“It’s basically a hindrance to business,” Balich said. “We as a county say we want business to come and we want to promote business, but we change our rules so it’s harder for you to operate.”
Balich pointed to one in-home business case in New Lenox Township that might have sparked potential changes to the county’s rules on in-home businesses, calling the land use department a bureaucracy that “just wants to expand and grow.”
“Their job, in their mind, is to make more rules and regulations and make it so they have more work to do,” Balich said. “Our job is to say no – we want businesses to come here and we want people to thrive.”
Committee Chairman Chuck Maher, R-Naperville, said committee members should bring any policies they encounter in other committees and see as negative to business to this ad-hoc committee. Greuling and others could do the same, and have the policies reviewed from an economic development standpoint.
“We can bring it in and have a discussion, not from a land use view, but from an economic development view,” Maher said.
Balich said he and other county board members have to be careful they aren’t “screwing” businesses, and that a law shouldn’t be made for one person or 10, it should be made for the entire county.