DANVILLE – An intersection plan for one or two intersections and various signs, including a “big and bold” flashing, monument-type sign that could make Interstate 74 drivers make a U-turn to stop at the new Danville Casino and Resort, were just part of the discussions at Thursday night’s Danville Area Planning and Zoning Commission meeting for the planned casino.

The commission recommended approving a planned unit development petition for the project. The Danville City Council will act on the petition on Oct. 15. Commissioner Ted Vacketta recused himself from the vote and presentation due to his employer, Mervis Industries' financial interest in the project.

Danville Casino Acquisitions LLC is requesting a planned unit development at properties with the common addresses of Parcel 24-18-400-004 and the portions of parcels 24-18-200-003 and 24-18-100-010 lying east of the Southgate Drive right-of-way to allow for the creation of a gaming entertainment district. The property is located south of the 220 Lynch Road exit on I-74.

Making the planned unit development presentation were Vermilion Development’s James McCraren and Chicago Consultants Studio’s Tim Brangle.

Brangle talked about the current B3 general business zoning for the 42-acre site in the Southgate Industrial Park.

The planned unit development addresses potential uses for the property including gaming, a hotel, camping, retail, entertainment and others.

He also talked about a hotel being taller than 45 feet, floor area ratio, 50 percent lot coverage and the site being served by all major utilities with capacity.

“It’s well served,” Brangle said. “It’s a good site for development.”

The committee also talked about working with the Illinois Department of Transportation on a traffic impact study regarding traffic patterns.

More parcels than the 42 acres in that area also are available if needed, Brangle said.

Danville Senior Planner Tyson Terhune said the second phase of the planned unit development will include more solid plans for development.

Earlier this week the Danville City Council approved Haven Gaming LLC as the casino operator. Haven Gaming will be submitting its Danville casino license application to the Illinois Gaming Board by Oct. 28.

In a plan submitted to the casino steering committee, based on the land valued at $100,000 per acre owned by Riverbend Development, Lou Mervis heirs, the land purchase for the casino resort was estimated at $7.2 million.

Haven would purchase all 72 acres with the casino and hotel on the 42 acres on the east side of Southgate Drive and the 30 acres across the street for additional development.

Haven representatives said they’d explore the needs of the community and what it wants to see for those 30 acres, such as a Chuck E. Cheese, golf facility, bowling and billiards, water park and other possible development.

While Haven’s gaming attorney Scott Sypolt didn't talk much about a casino theme earlier this week when asked by an alderman, the project information submitted to the casino steering committee this summer stated they would incorporate the Margaritaville brand through a Margaritaville-themed casino, Margaritaville restaurant and bar, 5 o-clock somewhere-themed bar and a Captain Pipe-themed casino.

In addition to the 200-seat buffet and Chicago-style deli, three restaurants and two bars also are expected.

For the entertainment venue, Haven estimates year 1 could see 12 headliner concerts, 19 smaller concerts, and nine other events (sports). Events at the resort could include stand-up comedy, musicals and Cirque du Soleil-type entertainment.

“This will be a very classy, state-of-the-art, first rate destination center that all of Danville will be extremely proud of,” Sypolt said earlier this week.

A slot machine win-per-unit-per-day is projected at $265 per machine per day. Par-A-Dice in Peoria is $224, Hoosier Park is $369 and Indiana Grand is $388, according to Haven’s provided statistics. The Danville annual gaming gross revenue from slot machines during year one is estimated at $120 million.

The goal is to be open within a year, after Illinois Gaming Board approval, with the whole resort being completed in about three years.

In other business Thursday, the zoning commission recommended approving a rezoning petition for Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church. The church is requesting to rezone 826 E. Main St. from R2-residential zoning to B2-highway business zoning to allow for installation of an animated/digital sign at that location.

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