Tinley Park car wash opponents continue fight
BY STEVE METSCH firstname.lastname@example.org November 12, 2012 5:54PM
A gasoline station just like this one at 191st Street and 88th Avenue, Tinley Park, IL, is proposed for an empty lot at 194th Street and Harlem Avenue. | File photo
Updated: December 14, 2012 6:17AM
Opponents of a proposed gas station that would have a car wash, liquor sales and truck fueling on a site in unincorporated Will County near Tinley Park hope a victory of sorts will carry over into Tuesday’s meeting of the county board’s land use and development committee.
The county’s planning and zoning commission last week voted against allowing the car wash, alcohol sales and a drive-through food window at Lenny’s Gas & Wash, but the panel’s votes are only advisory.
The commission voted 4-2 against the car wash special use permit, 5-1 against the food service window, and 6-0 against liquor sales at the development, proposed for the southwest corner of Harlem Avenue and 194th Street, near homes in the Tinley Trails subdivision.
While the votes are advisory, they do give neighbors some hope.
They are resigned to the gas station being built, but don’t want liquor sales, a food service window, car wash or 24-hour truck fueling. And they’re hoping that if the county board does allow a gas station, it would not be open 24 hours a day.
The developers do not need a special zoning permit for the gas station but would need one for liquor sales and the car wash, said David Dubois, director of the county’s development review division.
After the land use and development committee considers the issue at its 9:30 a.m. Tuesday meeting, the issue could go to the full county board for a final ruling in December, said Curt Paddock, director of the Will County Land Use Department.
It is possible the county board could limit the hours when liquor is sold or the car wash operates as part of the special-use permit, Paddock said.
Neighbors who oppose the project packed the planning and zoning commission meeting Thursday night, and many plan to attend Tuesday’s meeting, too.
Michelle Ansari, who lives on 194th Street west of the site, opposes it “because it’s a very large facility that would butt up against residential properties.”
“There’s a Speedway (gas station) two blocks down Harlem. This one is not necessary. It’s comparable to the Lenny’s on 191st Street and 88th Avenue, but there are no homes by that one,” she said.
Residents know the land is probably destined for some sort of development, but they’d rather not see a gas station, she said.
“We can’t even get onto Harlem Avenue during rush hours. It’s ridiculous. This would bring more traffic with a commercial property of this size,” Ansari said.
Angelyn Zmuda, who lives a few doors west of the site, said, “Our main objections are to the car wash and liquor sales. (Plan commission members) seem to have listened.”
The village of Tinley Park is siding with residents. On Nov. 1, the village sent a letter to the county’s land use department opposing the proposed semi-truck fueling facility that would be part of the development. In the letter signed by Mayor Ed Zabrocki, the village said it believes “noise, vibration, fumes and traffic” from the truck-fueling portion of the business would be a detriment to residents living west of the site.
Resident Andy Tess worries about “traffic being a greater risk for children.”
He’s also concerned that liquor sales could increase the potential for crime in the residential neighborhood.
“I have no problem with a gas station. I do have a problem with it being open most of the evening and with trucks sitting there at all hours fueling.
“The only possible thing that’s positive is creating new jobs, but there already are three gas stations nearby,” Tess said.