Menards gets final approval in Vernon Hills

Approvals for a Menards home improvement store at Milwaukee Avenue and Gregg's Parkway in Vernon Hills are official, with one final condition added Tuesday to the dozens that will have the building look different from most of the chain's outlets.

Vernon Hills trustees voted 5-0 to approve plans for the two-story building on 18 acres at the intersection's northwest corner. With a planned lumber yard and garden center, the project will cover 286,986 square feet.

The approval Tuesday came nine months after Menard Inc. proposed the new store to replace one that closed last fall on Route 60 in Mundelein.

The go-ahead followed several changes to the final plan, which includes 44 conditions involving landscaping, lighting and other aspects. Those changes have been shaped in part by discussions with homeowners in the Gregg's Landing neighborhood immediately to the west and Libertyville Ridge to the north.

A final condition, added at the request of Trustee Cindy Hebda, will require that the color of the main entry facade be changed from the corporate green to beige, although the familiar Menards logo will remain.

Hebda said the decision was a "good compromise" with residents, and the color change would be consistent with the Lowe's home improvement store in the adjacent southern commercial area of Gregg's Landing.

Several residents addressed the board before the vote, but fewer turned out than at previous meetings on the topic.

Chet Lis, a Gregg's Landing resident who has followed the entire process, said he was resigned to the project but had "one last appeal" for trustees. He presented a photo of the Menards store in Long Grove, which has the beige color.

"Let's not have the Vernon Hills Menards store be second class to the Long Grove store," he said.

Others said the project would decrease home values by 10 percent. Another concern is whether the huge store eventually would sit empty if the local market - which already includes Home Depot and Lowe's stores - can't support a third home improvement outlet.

"There won't be any residents who will benefit from Menards," said Scott Brand.

Resident David Oppenheim said it was a "poor idea for a project" and reiterated his stance that different development standards should apply because the annexation agreement for Gregg's Landing has expired. He said he established a website,, to publicly oppose the project and is considering a legal challenge.

Village Attorney Bob Kenny said neither the village nor Menards is violating any covenants, and the zoning granted under the annexation agreement does not expire.

"I'm very confident in my position," he said.

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