Town Of Normal Turns Up Heat On Nord Development
UPDATED 4:30 P.M. | Town of Normal officials confimed Monday the town has receieved a site plan request for development at 2012 W. College Ave.
City Planner Mercy Davison said the request was submitted on Friday afternoon. She said town staff will review the request and will place it on the town's Planning Commission agenda for March 5.
The Town of Normal is ratcheting up pressure on town council member Stan Nord over what town officials call an illegal development on his property.
Town officials claim in a Jan. 27 letter sent to Nord they made clear as far back as 2017 that Nord would need a site plan approved by the town before any development on the 15-acre property at 2012 W. College Ave.
Nord said last week he believed he was following proper guidelines to develop his property based on the final plat which the town approved last May.
Nord said a company called Mobile Mini Solutions, a portable storage company, has set up operations at the site.
City manager Pam Reece stated in the letter to Nord the town “will have no recourse but to pursue action to stop the violation” if Nord fails to submit a proposed site plan by the Feb. 3 deadline to bring the matter before the Normal Planning Commission on March 5.
The letter stated Nord has “significantly increased the gravel surface by possibly as much as two acres and has increased the occupancy of storage containers from six to approximately 60 units.
“It is my understanding your tenant is currently located and potentially operating on the new, illegal development,” the letter stated.
The town notified Nord of the violation by email on Jan. 3. Reece indicated she discussed the matter with Nord and Patrick Hoban, CEO of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council, on Jan. 9.
Nord said previously he requested the meeting to help explain the economic benefits of the development, though he declined to give specifics. Hoban said the meeting was a standard session to go over economic development possibilities.
Company officials haven’t responded to requests seeking comment.
Reece indicated the town emailed Nord in May 2017 indicating that he would need a site plan for any development on that property.
“If you want to build anything on the lot, you’d need to go through site plan review… This is required because the property is within 500 feet of residential zoning,” the email stated.
According to this week's letter, Nord's assertion last week that he did not know he would be in violation cuts against multiple notifications from the town about the requirements.
Nord asserted he thought he was obeying regulations, Reece said occupancy of the site increased after he was notified of the violation, and after the Jan. 3 meeting between Nord, Hoban, and Reece. Reece said the violation was discussed at that time as well.
In addition to the 2017 email, Reece noted the Town Council packet for the May 21, 2019, meeting specified that Nord would have to submit a site plan. She also referenced numerous conversations between the town, Nord, and Nord's counsel on the topic in 2019.
Nord has said he expects engineers will submit a site plan before the Feb. 3 deadline. When reached by phone Friday, Nord said he had no further comment.
Reece said she’s confident engineers on the project would submit the plans by Monday, but said she was not clear what the town’s next steps would be if they missed the deadline.
“We generally try to work with property owners short of going to court because even taking someone to court is time consuming,” Reece said. “The best solution is a resolution of the problem.”
City Planner Mercy Davison said as of Friday afternoon, the town had not yet received the site plan request, but confirmed her office has been in talks with the engineer regarding the proposal.
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