Opponents of a proposed gas station near Glen Ellyn aren't abandoning their claim that the facility would significantly increase air pollution at a neighboring park.
The DuPage County Board's development committee on Tuesday morning is scheduled to review a conditional-use permit request for the proposed Mobil station and Bucky's convenience store at the northeast corner of Route 53 and Butterfield Road. The review comes after the county's zoning board of appeals recommended granting the permit.
The meeting is expected to draw a number of opponents who claim the gas station and convenience store would attract so many cars and trucks that toxic air pollutants would increase. The pollutants, they argue, could pose a health risk for children using neighboring Butterfield Park District facilities.
"This isn't a park district issue. It's a community issue," said Larry Reiner, executive director of the park district. "This is for the health and well-being of all the families who live in the area."
While Reiner says he's "disappointed" the air pollution concerns didn't influence the zoning board's recommendation, opponents still plan to raise the issue to county board members. Ultimately, it will be up to the county board to decide whether the permit is granted.
"They (county board members) are elected to represent the most vulnerable people -- the children," he said. "The residents are counting on them to make the right decision."
During a September public hearing, experts for Butterfield argued that exposure to the carcinogen benzene found in gasoline can increase the risk of cancer.
But an expert representing Buchanan Energy of Omaha, Neb., the company seeking the conditional-use permit, countered that there's no environmental impact due to tougher emission controls and better gas station technology.
County officials said it's the first time they could recall such a debate happening over a proposed gas station.
Of course, air pollution isn't the only concern opponents are raising about Buchanan Energy's plan, which calls for a gas station with 10 pumps, a 6,800-square-foot convenience store and a 2,200-square-foot car wash.
Butterfield park officials and area residents say the development would create traffic problems. They also argue it's too large for the 1.5-acre site, which formerly housed a smaller Shell station.
"I am not saying it's a bad plan," Reiner said. "It's just a bad plan for this location."
If Buchanan Energy's plan is rejected, Reiner said the park district would be interested in acquiring the site. "We would try to do some kind of partnership with other like-minded agencies that want to see that preserved, perhaps as green space," he said.