Zoning committee approves rezoning for firehouse, intersection

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DECATUR, Ill (WAND) - The City of Decatur zoning committee has officially approved two zoning changes in the community.

GMX Real Estate Group is looking to develop the corner of Route 51 and Ash Avenue and hopes to have Chipotle be the anchor store. The corporate office directed GMX to look at the Decatur market and has already approved for it to be the anchor store if passed by city council. As previously reported, neighbors are concerned about the redevelopment site. However, the group said they would take all steps necessary to be good neighbors.

The center can't actually be built until Decatur's city council approves, but neighbors say they don't like the possibility.

"I believe our neighborhood is very strong as a family neighborhood and I do not want to see commercial properties encroaching on it," said neighbor Sue Long.

"(We're) bringing new businesses into the community that will generate new sales tax revenue, local construction jobs (and) new permanent jobs," said DMX Co-Founder Andrew Goodman. Neighbors who live near the corner of 51 and Ash say they aren't happy about the possible changes. "We have fought this before when they tried to put the ALDI in and the situation has not changed," said Bob Hohlbauch. "The traffic is still as bad as it was in the past and they're still trying to throw this down our throats."

The other approved project centered around the zoning of a lot at Mound Road and Greenridge Drive for a new firehouse. That facility would be built at 350 West Mound Road in a push to replace the current Firehouse 5 in Bretwood Village. The zoning board also approved this project, but it also still needs Decatur city council approval before it gets finalized.

Currently, a home sits in this location, in which neighbors say the owner died in the spring of 2017. The city says the decision to build on West Mound road was driven by the best coverage location, where firefighters could access the most areas quickly. Gleason referenced the growing community and response challenges Station 5 has had as some reasons to relocate.

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