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NORMAL — A local landowner has threatened legal action if the Normal City Council approves a new plan for North-Land subdivision that he contends could cost him money.

Greg Shepard, who owns land east of the north Normal subdivision, said "we're going to end up down at the courthouse for four years" if officials approve plans for North-Land that extend Greenbriar Road in a way that Shepard said will diminish his property's value.

Despite that, the Normal Planning Commission approved the plans on April 7, and the council will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday before considering the plans at its regular meeting. The meeting is at City Hall in Uptown Station.

Destihl intends to build a $14 million, 47,000-square-foot production brewery in the subdivision. It is set to open in 2017, but that could be delayed if Shepard pursues legal action against the town or Tracy Shepard — Greg's brother and owner of Country Acres Land Corp. that owns the subdivision.

"We certainly feel the town is in a strong position to defend," said City Manager Mark Peterson. "We're not concerned about ligation on our end."

Despite repeated attempts, Tracy Shepard could not be reached for comment.

At the planning commission meeting, Greg Shepard said his land east of Hershey Road and north of Raab Road will be less valuable if Greenbriar doesn't connect directly to Raab, as was outlined in previous annexation agreements.

The town agreed to extend Greenbriar Road, which currently ends just north of Furniture Row in north Normal, northeast toward Hershey Road to serve Destihl. The road would later connect to Hershey rather than to Raab.

"We think it adds great value to the property to have the road as it exists now (in the annexation agreement)," said Tom Cauley, an attorney for Greg Shepard.

Town Engineer Gene Brown said Greenbriar was never intended to carry through traffic from Raab Road down to Shepard Road, as Cauley described.

"I don't see this having a major impact to development of land to the east," said Commissioner Mike Matejka of the change. "People will find a way to get to Veterans (Parkway) without having to go through 'S' curves (on Greenbriar)."

Of Destihl, Matejka added, "We've got a major development here that's good for the community and good for employment," and "I don't think they want to wait for a dispute to work its way through court."

In other business, the council will:

• Consider approving changes to uptown parking decks, including closing two exits and installing a new payment system that will enable customers to pay from their cars more easily.

If approved, the deck connected to the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center will no longer feed traffic onto Beaufort Street, and the College Avenue Parking Deck will no longer feed traffic into the parking lot at Heartland Bank.

• Hear a presentation from Mark DeKeersgieter, executive director of Central Illinois Regional Broadband Network.

Follow Derek Beigh on Twitter: @pg_beigh


Normal and McLean County Reporter

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