Buffalo Grove has approved a special use that will allow Brunswick Corp. to operate a new bowling center on the site of the former eSkape family entertainment center at 350 McHenry Road. The vote came after the board weakened a long list of proposed restrictions on the use of the patio area.
The facility, located in Buffalo Grove's Town Center, is currently closed for renovations. Construction is expected to start in late July. When it reopens at the end of September or in early October, it will have a 32-lane bowling alley, a game room, a laser tag area, party rooms and a restaurant.
But the discussion at this week's village board meeting focused on the outdoor patio seating area.
Trustee Beverly Sussman said she was concerned by noise issues raised by Timothy Groark, president of the Winchester Estates Homeowners Association, at the plan commission hearing.
Sussman said she is business friendly, but she said the patio would cover 1,382 square feet, compared with eSkape's outdoor area, 375 square feet.
"So I do not blame the residents for being a little nervous and upset about the possibilities of noise etcetera coming from there."
She said, however, that residents were reassured when she pointed out the special use provision containing the patio restrictions, which stated in part: "Said area shall not be used for live entertainment, live music, video or television or dancing."
"I think this is too restrictive," Trustee Michael Terson said. "When we talk about being business friendly, I think we need to stop looking for ways to keep businesses from doing what it is they do."
At the very least, if Brunswick wants to put outdoor television screens in the patio area, he did not see how it would have a negative impact on the neighborhood, he said.
Brad Jorgensen, vice president of business development and strategy for Brunswick, said any restriction limits the ability to generate revenue in the long term, but added that Brunswick is willing to work with trustees and residents on a solution that makes sense for all parties.
"We don't feel that the outdoor live music, outdoor video screens or dancing would impact our investment in the community enough that it would change our decision to be here or not be," he said.
Trustee Steven Trilling said there are holes in the restriction, saying, for instance, that it does not prohibit amplified taped music. Trustees voted to solve the issue by taking out the sentence.
The special use still has more general prohibitions on excessive noise, reading: "The outside patio area shall be used for customer seating. Said area shall be managed to avoid impacts, including noise and lighting, for adjacent properties. In the event that adjacent residents or businesses file complaints concerning noise or related issues pertaining to use of the outside patio area, owner shall take appropriate mitigation measures at the direction of the village."
Still, Sussman objected, saying, "Now they can do anything they want."