Deerfield OKs effective ban on warehouse, logistics development

Everybody wants overnight delivery, but nobody wants a warehouse in their backyard.

Deerfield’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved amendments to the village’s industrial zoning code, effectively banning motor freight terminals, logistics centers, fulfillment centers and facilities for truck parking or movement, the Chicago Tribune reported.  

The amendments, proposed by village manager Andrew Lichterman, aim to clearly define and prohibit warehouse and distribution facilities within the north suburb. 

Final adoption of the ordinance is scheduled for Feb. 20.

Key changes include traffic plan requirements for special use permits exceeding 50,000 square feet, and additional reviews for businesses operating overnight or incorporating retail sales. Deerfield Mayor Daniel Shapiro initiated the amendments in response to evolving business trends, including reduced office spaces and the rise of e-commerce, leading to a surge in industrial redevelopment interest in vacant office properties.

The amendments address concerns raised by the city’s plan commission regarding increased truck traffic, congestion, pollution and infrastructure maintenance. While proponents argue industrial developments bring job opportunities and tax revenue, opponents won’t stand for pollution and traffic congestion.

Deerfield officials emphasized the importance of proactive communication with developers and residents regarding permissible developments, setting clear expectations. 

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Last year, Bridge Industrial’s proposal to convert the Baxter International headquarters into a 101-acre industrial park faced strong opposition from residents, citing concerns over emissions, noise and traffic. The proposal was ultimately withdrawn due to the developer’s inability to address community concerns adequately.

While Bridge was forced to scrap its plans, several other developers have had success with large industrial projects in Chicago’s suburbs. In Glenview, for instance, Dermody Properties is converting the 232-acre former Allstate office campus into a 3.2 million-square-foot logistics park. Dermody landed its first tenant in September, when California-based Upside Foods leased 187,000 square feet, with plans to open one of the world’s largest commercial cultivated meat production facilities.

—Quinn Donoghue 

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