Frustrated by a stretch of tired parking lot where the old Menards once stood, Hanover Park officials have toughened village codes in hopes of spurring the owner to restore the area.
Trustees approved a measure Thursday night that requires property owners to make additional improvements to vacant sites after demolishing buildings.
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The stricter rules are retroactive 24 months to include the roughly 12-acre lot where the home improvement store closed at 900 Irving Park Road, next to a neighborhood along Olde Salem Road.
"It's an eyesore," Trustee Bill Cannon said. "It's not fair to the residents that live around there. It leaves a bad impression, because that's a gateway to our community."
In 2008, Menards uprooted for a move to its current store at Barrington and Irving Park roads.
The village won a court order forcing the property owner to raze the remaining building because of safety concerns about the vacant structure.
In 2013, the old big-box store was torn down.
But the leftover parking lot, covered in weeds and susceptible to standing water, hurts property values for businesses and homes nearby, officials say, and the appearance also works against redevelopment efforts there.
"It does affect the aesthetics and the marketability of the site," Community and Economic Development Director Shubhra Govind said. "A developer would see it as additional work and investment that they would have to make before they can even get started."
Under the revised village ordinances passed unanimously Thursday, the parking lot needs to be removed, officials said.
Among other changes, crews must plant sod or grass seeds within 15 days of leveling a building, unless construction of a new one begins within 90 days of demolition.
If owners do not comply, they face fines, or Hanover Park could pursue court action, Village Manager Juliana Maller said.
Cannon wants the village to aggressively enforce the new rules.
Officials have long labeled the privately owned land, once a shopping center anchored by Menards, as a nuisance.
"Hopefully, there's a plan to do something real with it to force that property owner to comply with standards that we should expect within our community," he said.