Glen Ellyn trustees have moved to finalize the sale of village-owned land to developers of a gas station after months of emotional debate.
The village board has approved a measure authorizing staffers to set a date to close on the transfer of the property to True North Energy LLC at the "earliest time convenient." Trustees Mark Senak and John Kenwood voted against the ordinance.
The company will pay the village $630,000 for the site at Main Street and St. Charles Road. Neighbors urged the board to delay the decision until they are assured answers to their questions about traffic and safety at the busy Five Corners intersection.
Trustees defended the development that they say will put the property back on the tax rolls more than six years after the village paid $590,000 to buy the lot.
True North initially indicated the gas station and 4,290-square-foot convenience store could generate about $145,000 in annual sales tax revenue. Village staffers looked at other area gas stations and estimated the sales tax revenue could range from $120,000 to $140,000, but did not release that analysis because the information is proprietary, Village Manager Mark Franz said.
Some trustees also worried about the future of the site if True North walked away. Another developer might not agree to as many concessions, they say.
"You look at this project from the beginning to where it is today, it has really improved," said Trustee Diane McGinley, who will be sworn in as village president May 8.
True North has made more than 30 modifications to its plans since early 2016. Those include scrapping a proposed car wash and redesigning the convenience store and gas station canopy in an attempt to fit with a historic area around Stacy's Tavern Museum.
Trustees last week approved exterior designs and granted some exemptions to village code on the condition that operators shut down the station and its convenience store from at least midnight to 5 a.m. daily.
True North has accepted those restrictions, officials say.
But Senak said the company has presented "insufficient evidence" about the impact of the development one block from Forest Glen Elementary School.
Resident Diana Martinez and other neighbors also complained that a traffic study by a consultant for developers was conducted in January 2016 "and doesn't accurately reflect a typical day of pedestrian traffic."
The gas station, with room for 12 vehicles to fuel up, is too large, neighbors say.
"My biggest concern is that it will take this one shortsighted misstep to forever alter the reputation of our town and the quality of life for those of us that live in this northern quadrant of our community," said Kristy Bockelman, who lives on Prairie Avenue. "How could this possibly be considered a contribution? Proper testing and safety evaluations have not been made to allow for the final sale of this property."
Kenwood also has expressed uneasiness about lighting, noise and safety.
"I've got a bad feeling. I just have a feeling of what this will do, how this will be successful," he said. "I hate to bring in a business partner where he's starting with a bunch of people that are upset. That's not a good feeling for me."