Salvation Army plan is a zoning issue
A recent editorial by the Daily Herald stated that the matter involving the Salvation Army's request for a West Dundee business license was an "image issue." I disagree. At its base, this is a zoning issue.
While the village would welcome the Salvation Army in a more appropriate location, having the sale of predominantly used goods by an anchor tenant outside of a super-regional mall like Spring Hill would be incongruous with the overall use.
This rationale was likely employed when this same large-scale Salvation Army concept was rejected in Bolingbrook, Crystal Lake, Lockport, Springfield, and Schererville, Indiana. The Daily Herald failed to mention those rejections in the editorial and in related articles on the subject.
The reason the issue has become significant in West Dundee is because the owner of the property -- a bank in Tennessee that purchased the site at a foreclosure sale -- is suing the village and amended its lawsuit to include this matter. That same bank also hired a public relations firm to repeatedly contact local newspapers in an effort to have the bank's position advocated.
The Salvation Army is not party to the lawsuit and no longer has a lease agreement for the property -- it is strictly the bank that is suing our community. And that bank wishes to profit from its land purchase, as is its right. But to do so, the bank must work within the village zoning code, which, even before the amended text the bank laments in its suit, restricted used-goods sales at Gateway East.
The board and I have a vision for West Dundee, one that sees a revitalized downtown, a reinvented Spring Hill Mall corridor, a broader presence on Randall Road, and renewed activity along Route 31 south of Old Town.
Christopher J. Nelson
Mayor, West Dundee