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updated: 9/27/2013 3:42 PM

Glen Ellyn gas station plans raise environmental concerns

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Environmental experts testifying on behalf of the Butterfield Park District claim emissions from a proposed gas station near Glen Ellyn would significantly increase the risk of cancer among people using a nearby park.

The experts spoke to the DuPage County Zoning Board of Appeals Thursday about concerns with a proposed Mobil station and Bucky's convenience store at the northeast corner of Route 53 and Butterfield Road.

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In August the county board's development committee postponed its vote on a conditional-use permit request for the project and sent the plans back to the zoning board of appeals.

Opponents of the station claim it would attract so many cars and trucks that toxic air pollutants would increase.

Arguing for the park district, environmental engineer Ed Cooney and Argonne researcher John Arnish claimed the amount of the carcinogen Benzene emitted would increase the risk of cancer by seven times versus if the gas station was not there.

A lawyer for Buchanan Energy of Omaha, Neb., the company seeking the permit, previously disputed the air pollution claim. But the park district's attorney said Buchanan's research didn't hold up.

"Our response, and what they agreed to, is that their device would not pick up Benzene in the amount we believe would be in existence," said Phil Luetkehans, the attorney representing the park district.

In addition to a gas station with 10 pumps, Buchanan Energy's plans call for a 6,800-square-foot convenience store and a 2,200-square-foot car wash.

Opponents claim the development is too large for the 1.5-acre site, which once housed a smaller Shell station that was torn down 15 years ago, saying the size of the proposed facility would negatively affect their adjacent recreational space on Butterfield Road.

The board of appeals will meet again at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 8 to consider information submitted at this week's hearing and determine what it wants to do next.

In July the zoning board voted 4-2 to recommend approval of a conditional use for the proposed gas station.

The final decision ultimately will be up to the full county board.

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