Despite protests, village approves McD’s renovation
By Michelle Mullins Correspondent March 12, 2014 6:32PM
Updated: April 14, 2014 11:07AM
Over the protests of some trustees, the Homer Glen Village Board this week narrowly approved a plan to expand and remodel the McDonald’s restaurant in the village.
McDonald’s representatives said the restaurant, 14298 Bell Road, will get an extensive makeover — including adding a two-lane drive-through and disabled-accessible restrooms, a remodeled interior and a new exterior, landscaping and signs.
A key to the remodeling plan was getting a variance from the village’s lighting ordinance. While the lighting at the restaurant would be less than it is now, it still did not comply with Homer Glen’s strict regulations.
Homer Glen is one of a few communities in the world designated as an International Dark Sky Community for its efforts to preserve the night sky, reduce light pollution and promote energy efficiency.
Trustee Margaret Sabo, chairman of the village board’s environment committee, was one of three trustees at Tuesday night’s meeting to oppose McDonald’s request to not have to comply with the lighting ordinance. She said other McDonald’s in the Southland have fewer lights while maintaining safety for employees and customers and questioned why the renovated building in Homer Glen couldn’t reduce its lighting further.
With Mayor Jim Daley casting the deciding vote, the village board approved the remodeling project and granted the variance by a vote of 4-3.
In other action, the board’s public safety committee will look at the village’s ordinance on outside storage of boats, large equipment, campers, mobile homes and recreational vehicles.
The village receives about 10 complaints a year from residents about neighbors who store such equipment on their property — with the concern typically being that it’s an eyesore and will reduce their property value, according to village staff.
Under the current ordinance, when such equipment is stored outdoors it must be screened by a fence, wall or landscaping to conceal it from adjacent property and the public right-of-way.
A recent village survey found about 200 boats, trailers or RVs in 12 subdivisions that were not being stored as required, Joseph Baber, chief building official, said.
Trustees said they want to discuss revising the ordinance before the village tickets residents with up to a $500 fine for violating it.
Trustee Mike Costa said there were some problems with the current law. For instance, he said the village restricts a fence to no more than 6 feet in height in a residential zone, but many campers are taller than that. Other trustees were concerned about the burden on residents to pay storage fees.