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Article updated: 12/6/2012 5:33 PM

Auto glass repair shop coming to Elgin

By Elena Ferrarin

The portion of the Wing Park Shopping Center that used to house the now-closed Manor Restaurant in Elgin will be demolished to make way for a new automotive glass repair shop.

The Elgin City Council voted 6-1 on Wednesday to allow Elgin Improvements, LLC, to redevelop the southeast corner of the shopping center at North McLean Boulevard and Wing Street to make way for a new 4,100-square-foot facility that will house Safelite AutoGlass.

Councilman Robert Gilliam was the lone dissenter. A residents' petition opposed the measure.

Council members who voted in favor of the measure said previous objections were based on "misunderstandings."

All repairs at Safelite will be conducted indoors, and glass and other refuse will be stored in appropriate, fenced-in Dumpsters, officials said. Also, the property will be screened by landscaping, they said.

Councilman John Prigge said he checked out the Safelite AutoGlass in Morton Grove, and found it to be a "nice addition. ... This is a good company. This is a strong company," he said.

Councilwoman Tish Powell pointed out that much of Safelite's business is mobile. "I think this development will complete that shopping center and really make that whole area work a lot better," she said.

Richard Acevedo and Linda Gierbolini, who were among 29 residents who signed the petition, said they were somewhat reassured by the council's comments. The couple had initially feared increased traffic and the hazards of broken glass left outside, they said.

"We want to extend our hand (to the new business) if that's what the council approved. We just hope and pray it all goes well," Gierbolini said.

The shopping center is located within the Arterial Road Corridor Overlay District, which was created in 2001 to control land uses along the city's arterial roads. Motor vehicle repair shops were part of the list of prohibited uses within the ARC. In October, the city's planning and zoning commission did not recommend approval of a zoning text amendment to allow such businesses, but the city council approved it for lots four acres or larger.

Mayor David Kaptain pointed out that the site of the former Manor Restaurant, which closed in 2007, had a leaking, damaged roof.

"The building itself was never, ever, going to be used again for a restaurant, the inside had completely been trashed. The only thing to do was to demolish it, and I think this is a move in that direction," he said.

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