PEKIN — A public hearing to change the zoning of property in Riverway Business Park in Pekin to allow for a salvage yard has been canceled.

Letters were sent out to businesses in the area stating that a developer, John Cernovich, wanted to change the zoning on property next to Enviro-Safe Refrigerants on Hanna Drive in the business park from Planned Unit Development to General Industrial District 2 to allow for the salvage yard and the retail sales of parts. The hearing was slated for Wednesday, but did not take place.

Cernovich in 2016 spoke to the North Pekin Village Board about the venture, according to the Oct. 24, 2016, agenda.

Building Inspection & Development Director John Lebegue said the application was withdrawn because the applicant decided not to pursue the request. After the zoning change, the applicant would have to pursue a special use permit for the salvage yard.

“When that whole area was established by the city, they set up a PUD district because it gives you more flexibility and things of that nature to try to work with uses,” said Lebegue. “You try to target uses you want.

“A salvage yard was not one of those uses that was specifically a desirable use in that area. I think (the petitioner) realized it was just going to be a very difficult request to get approved. I, from a staff perspective, wanted to make him very aware of that. The city had designed that PUD district for a very specific reason — to try to get some more interesting types of industrial and light industrial uses in that area.”

Salvage yards are allowed in I-2 zones as a special use.

Riverway Business Park is home to several businesses including Hanna Steel, NTS Service Corps, Elecsys, Pal Health Technologies, WinPak Heat Seal Corporation, Excalibur Seasonings, Amerhart, KMI Packing and Exporting, Johnson Mechanical Services, Illinois Central College Pekin, Wheelworx and others.

The business park was originally a 165-acres park, of which only 15 acres remain to be developed. 

The City Council expanded it by 260 acres in 2006 to South Fifth Street on the west and extended Hanna Drive from Illinois Route 29 to South Fifth Street in 2009.

Lebegue said he did not receive any response from businesses in the area of the property in question, but said he knew EnviroSafe Refrigerants Owner Randy Price was opposed.

Price said Wednesday that he planned to attend the hearing to speak out against the Salvage yard. He was concerned with the appearance of a salvage yard and its propensity to attract mice, rats and other vermin.

“It really wasn’t our intension at all,” said Lebegue. “(The petitioner) had the right to ask for that whether we agreed with him or not.

“He had the right to ask for a zoning change. If they want to do it, it’s at their own risk and their own involvement. The city was not taking a position relative to it at this point. It was in the initial stages.”

The Riverway Business Park Protective Covenants, however, prohibits “junkyards, salvage yards, storage of inoperable vehicles and auto recycling facilities,” according to the documents.

Follow Sharon Woods Harris at Twitter.com/sharrispekin