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updated: 9/18/2012 11:38 PM

McDonald's gets another month to reconfigure Naperville proposal

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McDonald's officials believe that, given another month, they can have neighbors lovin' their proposal for the Naperville's sixth location. And city council members were willing to give them the time.

Despite pleas from a couple Naperville City Council members for McDonald's to resubmit their new proposal and start the process over, a majority of council members voted Tuesday to give McDonald's officials until Oct. 16 to present their new plan to the city council.

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The original proposal needed multiple variances to zoning, landscaping and sign regulations when it was first introduced in June.

Developers had hoped to demolish the Citgo gas station at Hillside Road and Washington Street to construct a 3,599-square-foot McDonald's that would be open 24 hours.

But council members voted down the plan, saying the drive-through could pose a traffic and safety nightmare on Washington Street, and also could disrupt the nearby residential neighborhood.

The plans called for a right-in and right-out access on Washington, and the opportunity to turn left or right when exiting onto Hillside Road.

The proposed parking lot would have had 31 spaces instead of the required 61; of those, 11 would have been for employee parking.

Councilman Robert Fieseler said Tuesday that he is concerned that by offering continuances to the fast food giant, McDonald's is being allowed to sidestep a vetting of the reconfigured proposal by the city's plan commission and also keeping the plan out of the public eye until its too late.

"The Plan commission voted 7-0 in favor of the project and I have no reason to think they're going to vote any differently," Fieseler said.

"But the one thing that does, is ensure the lack of public input that would occur if we were to have the case go back before the plan commission."

Councilman Grant Wehrli said also sees "the potential to cut the public completely out of the process."

McDonald's attorney Henry Stillwell said McDonald's was merely trying to avoid respending the $250,000 the company has already invested in the planning process without "a reasonable basis for success."

Stillwell denied that McDonald's was trying to cut the public out of the process, but was only trying to gain favor with the council, who would ultimately be voting on the plan.

"One of the things that we have always planned to do, after we felt we had a plan that made sense, was to then go forward and meet with the adjacent residents," Stillwell said.

"McDonald's has a number of facilities in this community as well as the world. The last thing we're interested in doing is alienating the communities we do business in and the residents who are our prospective customers."

Councilman Kenn Miller, who made the motion to allow the continuance until Oct. 16, said it was the last extension he would approve.

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