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updated: 4/19/2017 9:27 AM

Purchase proposed for industrial site zoned residential in Naperville

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On two sites north of downtown Naperville zoned for housing instead sit two industrial uses -- a concrete plant and a small engine components manufacturing facility.

A potential buyer has come forward to buy the engine manufacturing property, planning to use the land as a warehouse for a restoration company until it can also buy the concrete plant and use both sites to build new homes.

The city of Naperville has approved an agreement to allow the restoration company to buy the site, but not necessarily under terms the company will accept, attorney David Wentz said Tuesday.

Paul Davis Restoration of DuPage County asked for an eight-year term to operate a warehouse and office on the 1.5-acre site at 433-435 Spring Ave., despite the use being industrial in an area zoned residential. The company's ability to operate on the site could be terminated earlier based on several factors tied to the potential closing of the concrete plant next door at 515 Spring Ave. or to neighbor complaints.

But the council on Tuesday night unanimously cut the maximum length of the agreement to four years and required it to be reviewed again in two. Wentz said he would need to ask his client Richard Kramer, who owns Paul Davis Restoration of DuPage County, if he will accept the new terms.

Wentz said Kramer is the ideal purchaser for the site next to the Ozinga concrete plant because he also owns a home construction company and hopes to turn the entire property into exactly what the city wants to see -- new housing.

The city rezoned the sites for residential use in 2008 but allowed the two businesses already there to continue operating in the same capacity indefinitely.

Neighbors have been waiting nearly a decade for the dusty, noisy concrete plant and the DuPage Precision Products manufacturing facility to be replaced.

"The question is, what is the collective patience of the neighborhood and of the council?" Wentz said.

Two nearby residents who spoke Tuesday said they are getting tired of waiting and didn't want to see another industrial use approved for eight years.

But Mayor Steve Chirico said Paul Davis Restoration's plan would be a "step in the right direction" because it would be less noisy and disruptive than the current manufacturing use and it would prevent the site from sitting vacant while the concrete plant continues to operate.

"It's very difficult to encourage residential redevelopment with the presence of the existing concrete trucks," said Allison Laff, deputy director of transportation, engineering and development. "Allowing a lower industrial use to go in for a limited period is the best-case scenario we can look at to encourage future turnover when the time is right."

If Paul Davis Restoration buys the engine manufacturing facility, it would use the space to store furniture, equipment and other materials recovered from smoke- or water-damaged homes and businesses, Wentz said. The warehouse would be relocating from a space about half the size just north of Spring Avenue on Fifth Avenue.