MOMENCE — About six months after a rental complex failed to gain traction in Momence, a second proposed development is targeting the eastern Kankakee County city.

And at the Momence Plan Commission meeting Thursday, board members by a 4-3 vote approved the change in zoning requested by Woda Cooper Companies of Columbus, Ohio, for a 7-acre housing development carrying a projected $16.2 million price tag.

The development is called Jackson Commons Apartments.

Tenants would have to reach certain Area Median Income limits established by the government to qualify as a prospective resident.

About 50 Momence residents — the majority opposed to the project — attended the meeting.

The property along Industrial Drive on the city’s northern edge is being sought by Woda Cooper for a three-building, 60-unit complex of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.

Because the Plan Commission is only an advisory board to the city council, the eight-member council will likely act on this request at its Dec. 16 meeting.

Only in its conceptual phase, the development will have many hurdles to cross to gain a building permit.

Woda Cooper, explained Barry Accountius, a company development vice president, operates some 300 rental communities which have some 13,000 rental units.

“We feel like it’s a good time to get here [in Momence],” Accountius said. “We wouldn’t come here if we didn’t think we could fill it.”

Voting in favor the zoning change were commissioners Jim Vickery, Jack Metz, Kelly Hardy and Christy Ritter. Voting against were commissioner Chairman Steve Lund, Linda Kraus and Steve Gross.

Momence residents, mainly from the neighboring Sterling Meadows subdivision, objected to the development stating the industrial area where it’s being proposed would not be the best location for such a complex.

Residents cited the nearby waste-hauling transfer station and Allen Lumber Company as well as the single-family Sterling Meadows subdivision.

It was in the spring when Springfield, Mo.-based Four Corners Development proposed a 12-acre, 23-duplex development for low-income senior citizens. The development was met with vocal objections from nearby property owners on the city’s north side.

The developer walked away from the proposal.

Regarding the Jackson Commons project, Accountius said before any shovel hits the ground, developers must gain housing tax credits from the Illinois Housing Development Authority.

The highly sought-after tax credits help reduce developer cash put into a project. The Jackson Commons request is being put together. The fate of the request will not be known until late spring or early summer.

Accountius said without the credits, the project would be stalled.

Of the proposed 60 units, eight will be one-bedroom; 20, two-bedroom; and 32, three-bedroom. Square footage would range from 725 for the one-bedroom, 900 for the two-bedroom, and 1,100 for the three-bedroom units.

The development company expects at least half of the units would be filled with people currently residing in Momence. The remainder would come from residents in and around Kankakee County.

After the meeting, Mayor Chuck Steele said housing is needed in Momence.

“Every community in this area is preparing for the job growth that is taking place here at locations such as CSL Behring and Nucor Steel.”

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