The plan to build a Speedway gas station in Lake Barrington went before the village board for the first time Wednesday night at a special meeting.
Speedway's proposal, which calls for a station with 20 gas pumps and a 4,608-square-foot convenience store, was still being discussed late Wednesday at village hall.
In October, Lake Barrington's plan commission voted 4-3 in favor of the plan, which changed significantly over the course of four public meetings dating back to August.
The plan has fueled outrage among residents who have held a protest, circulated a petition and come out in droves to public meetings on the plan.
And Wednesday night was no different. Fifteen minutes before the special meeting, the parking lot outside the village hall had filled up and people had resorted to parking on the grass. Inside, nearly every seat in the meeting room was filled, and a few who did not want to sit in front were content to stand in the back.
Village President Kevin Richardson began the meeting by thanking residents who had participated in the process thus far.
"I want to underscore to everyone that the board wants to hear from everybody who wants to comment," Richardson said. "We are committed to ensuring everyone has an opportunity to speak."
The board heard presentations from Speedway and from the village's own consultants for more than three hours before public comment started around 10:40 p.m.
The first two public speakers were area elected officials expressing their concern that the gas station would harm their constituents.
Barrington Area Unit School District 220 board President Brian Battle said the school board was compelled to respond to the proposal because the gas station would be adjacent to land owned by the district that could eventually become the site of a third middle school campus.
"A gas station is not the school district's recommendation for neighbor to a middle school," Battle said before being cut off by thunderous applause from the crowd, which had been silent for nearly four hours at that point.
Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin said he felt the gas station, which he referred to as a "mega station," would lower the property values of Barrington Hills residents near the site.
During the presentations from Speedway executives and the village's consultants, there was no shortage of questions.
Trustee David B. Raclaw that the most-asked question from residents is why the station has to have 20 gas pumps.
Rich Yost, a division project manager with Speedway, said the number of pumps was determined by estimated traffic.
"If we felt like it only needed six gas pumps, we would build it with just six pumps," Yost said.
Chris Kalischefski, an architect with Speedway, said the station is only half as large as other stations in the area.
"We could be building twice as much and have the same relative density as the BP and the Thorntons," Kalischefski said.
According to a traffic study conducted by Speedway, 28,000 cars go by the station site each day on Northwest Highway and 8,000 more travel on Kelsey Road.
Kalischefski said Speedway would siphons existing traffic, not add to congestion.
"If you put a destination use on this corner, you are asking for trouble," Kalischefski said.
Trustee Andrew Burke recused himself from the discussion and from voting on the proposal.
He said while his consulting company, Insight Beverages Inc., does not do business with Speedway, he knows people who worked for Speedway and others in the industry.