Hearing to be held on zoning of facility


UNION TWP. – A public hearing will be held next month regarding potential zoning changes to a former research facility.

On Monday, the Union Township Zoning Commission scheduled to hold a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2016, at the Union Township Building, 3081 Harper Road, Mutual, regarding a request the commission received to change the zoning of 49 N. Ludlow Road, site of the former DuPont Pioneer Research Facility.

The property was built by Howell Brothers Development LLC in 2012 and leased to Pioneer. Howell Brothers is listed as the owner of the property, according to the Champaign County Auditor’s website.

An Oct. 5 letter addressed to Union Township Trustees and the zoning commission from Howell Brothers Development LLC requests a broader conditional use designation. The letter states the present use of the property is for corn research and the request seeks to broaden to an M-1 designation to include light manufacturing and warehousing for the property.

The letter notes a potential tenant is willing to speak to their planned use of the facility in the Sutphen Corporation. The letter further states Todd Winnenberg, general manager at Sutphen Corporation, would discuss the company’s plan to use the facility as a service center.

While the zoning commission was expected to vote on the request to change the zoning during Monday’s meeting, they were informed of additional steps in this process.

Champaign County Assistant Prosecutor Jane Napier said before the request could be voted on, it needed to be sent to the Logan-Union-Champaign Regional Planning Commission (LUC) and a public hearing needs to be held between 20 and 40 days after it was filed. Following the public hearing, Napier said the zoning commission would have 30 days to decide on the zoning change.

Prior to the facility opening in 2012, Union Township landowners appealed the township’s Board of Zoning Appeals decision to grant a conditional use permit for the building of the facility. A ruling in the Champaign County Common Pleas Court went in favor of the research facility.

The research facility opened in December 2012 before closing in the summer of 2014.

By Nick Walton

[email protected]

Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.

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