Benjamin Ripstein proved he is a good salesman. After initial opposition to his plans to replace Capaccio Bros. Furniture with a luxury car dealership, he appears to have sold Lake Zurich residents on himself and his company.
Five residents expressed support for Ripstein, president of Midwest Motors Inc., during Wednesday's Lake Zurich planning commission hearing where officials recommended the village board grant the special permit to operate the dealership.
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Of the 30 people who attended the hearing, none spoke out against the proposal.
"I'm thrilled with the support," Ripstein said. "I'm excited to become a neighbor of the community."
After two informal public forums -- one at his current dealership location in Volo -- Ripstein took notes on complaints lodged by Lake Zurich residents and went door-to-door to discuss issues with neighbors of the store at Route 22 and Cortland Drive.
Ripstein came before the planning commission Wednesday with a list of about 20 promises regarding what his company won't allow.
Some of the items on the list included air tents, search lights, flashing signs, sales prices on car windshields, outdoor public announcement systems, human billboards, and inflatable mascots.
"There won't be any gorillas out front of any sort," Ripstein said at the hearing.
Rick Delisle, principal from Lee & Associates, Midwest Motor's real estate broker, said Midwest Motors will increase the community's diversity, decrease traffic congestion and help economic development.
"We're not going to dominate the neighborhood," he said.
Ripstein said most of his business is conducted through his website.
The majority of Midwest Motor's cars, priced over $50,000, will remain inside the store and a maximum of 20 cars will be allowed outside. The dealership won't change any of the existing signs or lighting.
Some residents said they were impressed when they visited Ripstein's business in Volo and believe he has addressed all of their major concerns.
"He's like a kid in a candy shop, he gets really excited about what he's doing," said John Ford, a resident of the Orchards subdivision across the street from the site. "I think (this building) will be a good fit for him."
Daniel Lane, another resident of the Orchards, said he was concerned with the plans at first, but changed his mind after he met Ripstein.
"I think he has addressed almost all of the concerns," Lane said. "I am entirely sympathetic to his moving in now … I think he'll be a good neighbor."
Nick Capaccio, owner of Capaccio Bros. Furniture, who endorsed Ripstein from the beginning, said he was happy with residents' reactions.
"We all know it's easy to make negative comments," he said. "I applaud all the residents for standing behind Capaccio Brothers, we appreciate it."
The planning commission gathered information from the proposal at the hearing to make recommendations to the village board for final approval. Trustees will vote on the dealership at a July 2 board meeting.
Ripstein said if his plans are approved, he hopes to be in the property operating by Oct. 1.