Will County panel postpones vote on controversial gas station, car wash near Tinley Park
BY CINDY WOJDYLA CAIN email@example.com November 13, 2012 3:50PM
Michelle Ansari (top right) voices her concerns about a Lenny's Gas & Wash to the Will County Land Use & Development Committee Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, in Joliet. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 14, 2012 11:18AM
Frankfort Township homeowners who live near the proposed site for Lenny’s Gas N Wash called the business a “monstrosity” at Tuesday’s Will County Board Land Use Committee meeting.
They said Lenny’s — which is seeking permits for a car wash, drive-up food window and liquor sales — would disrupt their neighborhoods, pollute their air, endanger their children, increase crime and lead to traffic congestion. They asked the committee to vote against the project, as the county’s Planning and Zoning Commission had voted last week.
But Will County Board Chairman Jim Moustis, R-Frankfort, recommended a different option. After sitting in on the committee meeting, Moustis, who also serves as Frankfort Township supervisor, urged the project’s opponents to sit down with developer Leonard McEnery to try to work out some of their issues.
Both sides agreed and the committee voted unanimously to postpone a vote on the project.
As the 5-acre parcel at 194th Street and Harlem Avenue is now zoned, McEnery could build a gas station without any special-use permits, Moustis explained. And Moustis said if McEnery walks away from the deal, some of the property could be developed into a much heavier commercial use bordering on industrial.
McEnery’s purchase of the land from Suburban Bank and Trust is contingent on him getting zoning approvals he needs from the county board, which has control over the site because it is in unincorporated area. Moustis warned opponents that the committee could vote against Lenny’s permit requests, but the full 26-member county board could still OK it at a future meeting.
The project, like many controversial zoning cases that pit homeowners against developers, churned up many emotions at Tuesday’s meeting.
Project opponents fear diesel fumes from a truck-fueling station planned for Lenny’s will contaminate their air. They worry the bright lights from the business will light up their neighborhood “like a Christmas tree.”
Many were in tears after the meeting. Some were angry, and they raised their voices as they continued the discussion after the meeting with Moustis and McEnery. They agreed to one more meeting, but the group seemed unhappy with the development.
“I’m disappointed we weren’t able to come out with a vote that was in our favor, obviously,” said Sandra Rennie, whose back yard would be adjacent to Lenny’s.
McEnery, who owns a Lenny’s in Mokena, said he was willing to take the time to try to soothe the neighbors’ concerns.
“I think it’s a good idea,” he said.