Council denies plan for 24/7 gas station in Naperville
A vacant former gas station in Naperville won't become a new 24-hour gas station -- at least not under a proposal from a group hoping to open a 7-Eleven.
The city council on Tuesday night voted down a request from Vequity LLC by a 5-4 vote, deciding not to allow a proposed gas station to replace a former Marathon station that sits dormant at 991 W. Ogden Ave.
Neighbors said one of their main concerns was the proposed station would be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They said they feared late-night crime, noise and traffic near their quiet Cress Creek subdivision, which is situated on a golf course.
"Why wake this area up when families and children are asleep at night?" nearby resident Justin Putter said.
John Zemenak, an attorney for the project with Rathje Woodward LLC, said 7-Eleven corporate was requiring the 12-pump station proposed for the site to be open 24/7, as are all but four of the 375 7-Eleven stores in Illinois. The project wouldn't be able to move forward without round-the-clock hours, he said, and that drew opposition from both neighbors and city council members.
"We don't need 7-Eleven if they're going to quit after something like that," nearby resident William White III said. "Twenty-four hours is a detriment."
Naperville Police Chief Robert Marshall said the department's crime analyst reviewed data from the past 2½ years for the six 24-hour gas stations already open on Ogden Avenue in the city. He said 77 crimes were reported at the stations during that time frame, and 19 of them occurred between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
While fewer crimes took place overnight, Marshall said, those that did were more violent, including four robberies.
Mayor Steve Chirico was one of four to vote in favor of the proposal, which would have granted the gas station a conditional use permit to demolish the former Marathon station and build anew. During a time when communities are working hard to attract investment and economic development, Chirico said, it seems counterproductive to push back.
The proposed 7-Eleven would have eliminated the former truck rental and auto body shops that were part of the old gas station. Chirico called the design "a giant leap of an improvement," when he voted in favor of it along with council members Judith Brodhead, John Krummen and Benjamin White.
But residents also voiced concerns about how the density, the number of gas pumps and the lighting of the proposed site plan could affect traffic, noise, property values and the character of the neighborhood.
Council member Kevin Coyne said these issues were among the reasons he did not support the plan. Council members Patty Gustin, Paul Hinterlong, Patrick Kelly and Theresa Sullivan joined him in casting "no" votes.