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Flea market proposed in Milo Township

PRINCETON — Proposed plans to build a flea market-type business in southern Bureau County got a little bit closer to reality when the Bureau County Board approved a necessary rezoning request needed to make it happen.

At Tuesday’s county board meeting, developer Greg Hill addressed the board to explain the proposed business, which would be built on the Wyanet/Walnut Blacktop about one mile south of the Boyd’s Grove Church, which is located about six miles east of Bradford.

The goal is to set up a flea market/mini-mall type business, with individual vendors leasing out spaces, Hill said. The business would also include a farmers market and a restaurant, with a possible liquor license. During nice weather, there would be inflatable playgrounds for the kids and other activities, Hill said.

“We’re just trying to have a spot for families to spend the day,” he said.

The proposed business would be open only on weekends and would be housed in a Morton-type building to be constructed on the nearly five-acre site, Hill said. The existing residence on the property would continue to serve as a home, he said.

Jeff Sears, whose property neighbors the site, also addressed the board, saying he had several concerns about the rezoning request and proposed business. The proposed business would take away from the rural setting of the area. The business would cause increased traffic on the already heavily-traveled road which has a lot of heavy farm machinery traffic at times. The business could cause a public safety concern because of limited access to police at the rural site, the increased traffic and also the possible liquor license. Sears also questioned the viability of the proposed business and what would happen if the business was not successful.

Sears asked the board to consider all these factors when making its decision.

“Weigh the risks to the reward. If the rewards outweigh the risks, we’ll be more than happy to work with them and be good neighbors,” Sears said. “If the risks outweigh the rewards, I’d give the vote to not change the zoning.”

Milo Township Supervisor Steve Cowser also addressed the board, saying the township board had voted not to approve the request. The township’s main concern was the area is an agriculture community and it seemed like a misfit to have a zoning change with this kind of activity right in the middle of agriculture country, he said.

On a personal note, Cowser said he shared many of the concerns expressed by Sears and others opposing the proposed business. As well, he had concern about liability, run-off issues and property devaluation for neighboring property owners.

In presenting the rezoning request Tuesday evening to the county board, ESDA and Zoning Committee Chairman Marsha Lilley said the committee had a 3 to 3 split vote on whether to recommend the rezoning request to the full board.

After further discussion, the board approved the request to rezone the property, from Agriculture to Business-3, on a 12 to 8 vote.

Voting in favor of the rezoning request were Joe Bassetti, Tom Dobrich, Marshann Entwhistle, Marsha Lilley, Jeff Mangrich, Mary Jane Marini, Mike Maynard, Bob McCook, Robin Rediger, Jim Thompson, Kristi Warren and Derek Whited.

Voting against the rezoning were Robert Albrecht, Ralph Anderson, John Baracani, Jim Donarski, Dan Rabe, Connie Stetson, Loretta Volker and Dale Anderson.

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