Preliminary casino zoning plan discussed

A delivery truck travels along Lynch Road Wednesday at the site of a proposed casino on Danville’s far east side. City officials have yet to select an operator for the casino, but both proposals being considered use the Lynch Road site as the project’s location.

DANVILLE –The Danville Area Planning and Zoning Commission Thursday night heard a presentation on the planned unit development process needed for the casino site in the Southgate Industrial Park.

The 42-acre site located at Interstate 74 and east of Lynch Road, preferred by two gaming operators the casino steering committee is still in negotiations with, is zoned B3 general business. A casino is not an explicit use in any of the city’s zoning districts.

Some of the anticipated uses of that site also include a hotel with possibly up to 300 rooms, entertainment venue, indoor/outdoor event space, heliport, restaurant and banquet facilities, glamping/campground space, retail space and up to about 4,000 parking spaces.

Vermilion Development’s Kerry Dixon and Chicago Consultants Studio’s Tim Brangle presented a preliminary overview of the site including a concept plan, signage and other information. They said it’s creating a destination district, including the gaming operator’s branding.

They also said this will be a phased development.

The planned unit development is necessary to address the property uses, bulk/density and floor area ratio, height of buildings such as a multi-story hotel, setback, parking and signage throughout the site.

The steering committee also previously talked about the 30-acre parcel across Lynch Road, with both being owned by Riverbend Development -- Lou Mervis heirs. Other potential resort-type and destination attraction development talked about on the west side of Lynch Road has included an outlet mall, water park and events center.

The zoning commission will have a preliminary review for the casino site and then a final review with engineering plans later on in the process.

The commission is expected to act on the planned unit development at its Oct. 3 meeting.

The Danville City Council would act on the ordinance on Oct. 15. This would be part of the casino license application the casino operator will submit to the Illinois Gaming Board by Oct. 28.

Dixon said they are now receiving city and zoning commission input on the planned unit development process.

“To me it’s kind of like putting the cart before the horse,” said Zoning Commissioner Adam Brown about the preliminary plans.

Dixon said yes, it may seem that way to a certain extent. However, he added, this is the preferred site for the majority of the potential operators and the steering committee overseeing choosing the operator has interviewed them on their plans.

Danville Senior Planner Tyson Terhune also reminded the zoning commissioners that they will see the casino plans two times – once in this preliminary plan phase and a second time later on for the final phase before construction when specific designs are set.

The seven-member zoning commission has two vacancies at the moment and four commissioners were present for the Thursday night casino presentation.

In other business, the zoning commission recommended approving a re-zoning petition for Danville School District 118. The school district is requesting the re-zoning of a vacant lot owned by the school district at 444 N. Jackson St. from R2 single-family residential zoning to B1 neighborhood business zoning to extend a parking lot serving the school district’s Dr. David L. Fields Administrative Service Center in the lot to the north at 110 E. Williams St.

The Danville City Council will act on the zoning request on Sept. 17.

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