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updated: 7/16/2014 6:52 PM

Two-story Menards store moves to final approval in Vernon Hills

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Construction of a Menards home improvement store in Vernon Hills seems likely, as trustees have directed village staff members to prepare an ordinance approving the architecture, landscaping, lighting and sign plans.

Talks will continue with neighbors to the north and west regarding landscaping and drainage matters, but the action Tuesday during the village board's work session means the proposal appears to be moving ahead.

The proposal for a two-story building, garden center and warehouse on the northwest corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Gregg's Parkway has been in the review process for about nine months. It would replace the former store along Route 60 in Mundelein that closed last fall.

Several modifications have been made during the process, which has involved discussions with residents in Gregg's Landing immediately to the west and Libertyville Ridge immediately north. Talks will continue.

"We do appreciate the resident input and being able to work with them," Village Manager John Kalmar said.

"We still have a lot of work do with Menards and they understand that. This is the first large step."

Last week, the village's planning and zoning commission recommended approval of the measures. The directive by the village board on Tuesday comes with 27 conditions involving the types of lighting, building appearance, landscaping and other details. One new condition added bans uncovered outdoor storage on the west side of the building, Kalmar said.

The vote to proceed with lighting, architecture and landscaping was 6-0. A signage plan was approved 4-2.

"I thought most of the affected residents were relatively satisfied with the improvements that were made," Trustee Jim Schultz said.

In June, about 50 residents attended a village board discussion of the plan and several spoke against it.

This area and the site south across Gregg's Parkway that has been developed with a Lowe's home improvement store, Mariano's grocery and other businesses, are the commercial portions of the original Gregg's Landing development.

The Lowe's was in review for a year and resulted in an earth tone facade, rather than the typical blue corporate color. Residents had asked for a similar treatment for Menards, which has a forest green corporate color.

"They seemed not to apply the same standard to Menards as they did to Lowe's," said Don Kathan, representing Gregg's Landing North, the master homeowners association.

He said residents appreciated the "opportunity to provide input" but were "extremely disappointed" with the outcome.

Kalmar said the amount of green was significantly reduced and limited to the entrance/exit points and as accents.

The board is scheduled to consider the ordinances during a special meeting Tuesday. If approved, Menards can apply for construction permits.

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