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updated: 8/8/2013 1:59 PM

Menards expansion raises lighting, parking issues for Mount Prospect

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Menards plans to expand its Mount Prospect location at 730 and 740 E. Rand Road into the space formerly occupied by Aldi.

But first it has to resolve parking and lighting issues with the Mount Prospect Village Board.

When Menards reconfigures the northern portion of its parking lot to accommodate more stormwater storage, the number of parking spaces will drop to 293, while village ordinances require no fewer than 339.

As for lighting, Menards is seeking variances, it says, to keep the parking lot and driveways from becoming too dark and, therefore, unsafe. But the variances would increase the illumination at "hotspots" along Rand Road and Harvest Lane, as well as the south property line, which abuts the Brunswick Zone and adjacent banquet facility.

Trustee Richard Rogers said the required 339 parking spaces is already fewer than what was originally called for at Menards.

"Now you're taking another 30 parking spaces," he said.

Trustee Paul Hoefert pointed to Mariano's in Arlington Heights, which he said has too few parking spaces for its clientele.

"I hope you're a huge success," Hoefert told Michael Simonds, Menards real estate representative, but asked where the store could find additional parking if it proved necessary.

Simonds said Menards could add parking if the 293 spaces proved uncomfortable.

Mayor Arlene Juracek said Menards does not get the same high volume of people traffic as at other retail stores.

A square foot at Menards, she said, "is not the same thing as a square foot of a Mariano's."

Simonds said that by comparison, the peak parking demand at the Antioch and Long Grove Menards stores is far lower than 293. In a traffic count done on a Saturday in March 2010, Antioch peaked at 173 cars and Long Grove peaked at 200 cars.

Meanwhile, the lighting discussion will continue to another village board meeting.

Menards is arguing that complying with the village's regulations would create an unsafe environment for customers in the parking lot. The site is uniquely shaped, it says, limiting the placement of light poles. The higher illumination would be placed where pedestrians and vehicle traffic are greatest, to avoid accidents and keep customers safe.

"We have put our best foot forward in trying to meet the code," Simonds said.

However, after a long discussion of village lighting standards, Juracek said, "I don't think we know enough about the lighting to waive that second reading."

Hoefert agreed. "We need to understand this better."

Meanwhile, Menards will continue to work with village staff on the lighting issue, both parties agreed.

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