Lake Barrington planners recommend gas station
Lake Barrington's plan commission recommended a controversial Speedway gas station proposal before a large crowd of residents who opposed the plan Thursday evening at village hall.
The proposal is to build a 20-pump gas station that would have a 4,608-square-foot convenience store and an automatic car wash and would operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at the intersection of Northwest Highway and Kelsey Road.
After more than 3½ hours of testimony and comments from Speedway representatives, members of the public and the commissioners, the vote came down 4-3 in favor of the proposal.
Thursday's meeting was the fourth time Speedway's plan has been discussed by the commission since it came up in August. The plan has changed several times since the summer, but many people at the meeting expressed frustration that most of the changes were cosmetic and didn't address concerns about the station's size and effect on the community.
Commissioner Frank Menconi said he felt Speedway had done a marvelous job being flexible with the cosmetic design but not the size of the station.
"This rendition that you are proposing would by far be the nicest-looking, architectural gas station," Menconi said, who voted against the plan partly because he thought it was too big. "Why don't we go just for the nicest-looking and not tied for the biggest in the area?"
Chris Kalischefski, an architect with Speedway, said he wouldn't design a smaller station because his company's data showed 20 pumps would be needed to handle customers at peak hours.
Resident Chris Pearon said he didn't care about how much money Speedway would lose by conforming to things the community cares about, like the environmental concerns.
"(Those concerns) mean something more to us than the trees, more than the dormers," Pearson said, as the audience began to applaud.
Kalischefski said the environmental concerns have been addressed by experts hired by the village, which prompted some laughter, boos and cries of "Shame!" from people in the audience.
Resident Mike Rothmann said one problem with Speedway's proposal is that its traffic study didn't take into account that Barrington Area Unit School District 220 owns land adjacent to the property that has been considered a possible location for the third middle school campus.
"That's a critical issue: How much more traffic is going to be there during school days?" Rothmann said.
Resident Noel Schumann said the gas station would introduce a criminal element to the community near where students may be someday.
"How would you feel about your middle-schooler waiting for you with that kind of traffic next door?" hes said.
School board President Brian Battle said the district wants to make sure it wouldn't be inhibited in developing a third middle school campus in the future.
Final say over the proposal rests with the Lake Barrington village board, which will discuss the plan on Nov. 19.