JOLIET – Kerwin Terrace residents already roiled about a commercial strip center being built on the edge of their neighborhood now have questions about a house being built on a what they say is too small of a lot.

The strip center at 1226 Plainfield Road goes to the City Council for a vote on Tuesday. Construction on the house started last week. Dirt from the construction on the small lot is piling up on the edge of Margaret Van Gordon’s yard and roots from one of her trees have been cut during the excavation.

Van Gordon said she knew nothing about the home being built until she got a call at work on Tuesday.

“My son called me, ‘Mom, they’re digging,’ ” Van Gordon said.

Other neighbors, too, have complained about the construction, saying the believed lot at 1316 Colorado Ave. with only a 39-foot width could not be developed because of its size.

“I don’t know how it went from a lot not being able to be built upon to now a house going up,” Van Gordon said.

Joliet Director of Inspections David Mackley, however, said there was no prohibition against building on the lot. He said a past proposal 10 years ago to put a larger house on the site went to a zoning hearing because it needed a setback variation and was turned down. But the house going up now meets the setback requirements, and no variance was needed, Mackley said.

“This one’s set back from the property line more than many of the existing homes,” Mackley said.

The lot is smaller than what the city requires for new subdivisions. But Mackley said the city permits construction on smaller lots in established subdivisions.

Bill Adelmann of Shorewood, who is building the home, said he was surprised by the reaction from many of the neighbors.

“I’m simply building a house,” Adelmann said Friday at the construction site. “I thought I was improving the neighborhood – not destroying it.”

His wife, Julie, said the couple became curious about the lot during drives through the neighborhood, which is close to where they both once lived. They noticed the grass growing high on the lot.

“We are very much shocked by the response that we received,” she said. “Our intent is not to harm anybody.”

Many of the residents in the neighborhood already are worried about the 8,165-square-foot plaza planned the nearby site on Plainfield Road.

The city has held two community meetings aimed at working out a compromise with Kerwin Terrace residents objecting to the plan.

Randy Wolz, who told developers for that project at the last meeting that no compromise was acceptable, lives one house away from the new home under construction.

“If there was a zoning request on this property, no one around here was notified,” said Wolz, who has called police twice to complain about the construction.

Mackley said no zoning change was needed on the property because the 1,449-square-foot house planned for the lot meets the setback requirements.

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