DuPage rejects plan for gas station near Glen Ellyn
Opponents of a proposed gas station and convenience store near Glen Ellyn were breathing easier Tuesday after the DuPage County Board rejected the developer's plans.
The board voted 14 to 4 to deny a request from Buchanan Energy to build a Mobil station and Bucky's convenience store at the northeast corner of Butterfield Road and Route 53.
Opponents had argued the station would attract large numbers of vehicles resulting in an increase in toxic emissions that would pose a health risk for children using neighboring Butterfield Park District facilities.
Park district members and residents from Glen Ellyn, Wheaton, Lombard and Downers Grove joined forces to post fliers, created a Facebook page and circulate a petition that included more than 1,200 signatures against the proposal. The park district serves residents of unincorporated areas near Glen Ellyn and Lombard.
"This was a classic example of grass-roots opposition," said Bob Gans, a 23-year resident of Green Briar Glen subdivision near Glen Ellyn. "We were very concerned with the impact it was going to have relative to the safety of the kids at the park district with the proximity to the station."
Buchanan Energy of Omaha, Neb., sought a 1.5-acre development that would include space for 10 gas pumps, a 6,800-square-foot convenience store and a 2,200-square-foot car wash.
The site previously housed a much smaller Shell station.
In 2001 the county board approved a similar request for a new gas station, but it was never built.
Similar Bucky's facilities have been approved in Carol Stream, Buffalo Grove and Vernon Hills.
"The real difference now is there is political opposition," said Henry Stillwell, the attorney representing Buchanan Energy.
Larry Reiner, executive director of the park district, said "we know much more about the impact of benzene" since 2000 and the district's services have grown "exponentially" since the earlier station proposal.
Gans said guidelines from the EPA were presented to the board recommending large gas stations not be any closer than 1,000 feet from schools. The boundaries of the park district, Gans said, would have been about 200 feet from the pumps.
Because of the size of the project, Buchanan Energy also planned to cut down trees close to the property line that Reiner said serve as a buffer to the district's swimming pool and pavilion where preschool and after-school programs take place.
"It's not any one of these factors that made it a bad location," Reiner said. "It's all of these factors that made it too large of a proposal."
Reiner said while the park district is not in a financial position to purchase the property, it may be possible to create a multiagency partnership to explore the issue.
Representatives for Buchanan Energy said they are "strongly contemplating" appealing the board's decision.
"The impact on the community could have been devastating to our children's well-being," Reiner said. "We had to stand up and protect our community. I really commend the board. They came down on the side of the children, and they came down on the side of the residents."