Farmington Foods, 7419 Franklin St., has permission to build its proposed addition after the village council’s unanimous vote on April 26 to amend the 2015 planned unit development (PUD), allowing the expansion and adding restrictions, including some related to truck traffic and fencing.
The 8,666 square foot two-story addition (a footprint of approximately 4,333 square feet) will connect two existing structures on the southeastern part of the site.
On April 12, the village council discussion regarding the expansion was continued until the meeting on the 26th, giving the village and Farmington representatives more time to work out details, the most significant related to truck traffic and noise, fencing, and the rooftop deck that will be part of the addition.
The ordinance before the village council on April 12, written by village staff and the village’s planning consultants, proposed restrictions on all truck traffic from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., but Farmington Foods appealed, stating that would be too binding and would essentially handcuff their business.
The village rewrote the requirement, instead stating that no more than six transports (a transport defined as a one-way trip) would be allowed between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. on site. Back-up beepers on the trucks will not be allowed during those hours; back-up safety lights will be used instead.
Farmington agreed to the village’s ask that visual and noise screening be erected for portions of the property that are beyond 15 feet from the entrances, rather than the 25 feet the company originally desired.
Additionally, the company had clarified to Building, Planning and Zoning Director Steve Glinke and other village staff that the rooftop deck, part of their proposed addition, will only be used by office and supervisory personnel. Glinke said his original impression that the rooftop deck might be occupied by 20 or 30 people at a time, potentially late at night, was corrected by on on-site visit and discussion with the operations manager. Further, said Glinke, the impact of light or people on the rooftop deck would be blunted by regulations regarding screening.
“Even from a second story window across the street, you won’t even see the people out there,” Glinke said. “If there’s noise, we can go ahead and enforce the noise ordinance. But frankly, I was very comfortable with what [the operations manager] from Farmington provided me.”
Glinke, who came down hard on Farmington at the April 12 meeting, said he was pleased with the effort put forth by Farmington Foods to reach an agreement with the village, including the company’s willingness to agree to limit the number of truck trips during overnight hours.
“If things go sideways, we can put a camera over at the water tower, if we really feel that that’s absolutely necessary,” Glinke said. “But I think that Farmington has shown good faith. They’ve explained the reason that they need that shuttle between the two buildings.”
Glinke added that finding a middle ground where neighbors have quality of life while balancing company growth is the goal.
“We have to balance [Farmington’s] ability to grow their business in a way that doesn’t necessarily have a significant impact on the residential neighborhoods,” Glinke said, later comparing it to Madison Street 30 years ago. “This is the same thing that we went through three decades ago, when we were rebranding Madison Street and trying to determine how we’re going to maintain the peace between a commercial business district with a nightlife and approximate residential neighborhoods.”
Commissioner Ryan Nero said he appreciated the work of Glinke and his team as well as Farmington Foods being willing to work with village staff.
“I appreciate the flex from Farmington so we can put this behind us and move forward,” Nero said.
During the April 12 village council meeting, Farmington Food’s CFO and COO Al La Valle said the addition was driven “by market forces triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Customer demand for Farmington’s retail grocery market products has grown while demand for restaurant products has decreased, La Valle said. These products require different packaging and machinery configurations, and additional space on the first floor will allow the company to better handle these adjustments.
The first floor will also include a conference room and an ADA accessible elevator. Offices will be housed on the second floor. Plans also include the rooftop deck.