Residents ask Village board to delay vote on 12-pump gas station with 24 hour convenience store due to environmental, noise, traffic concerns
Exron LLC is planning on putting a new gas station on the piece of Village-owned property on Irving Park Road between Ozark and Overhill, in a proposal unveiled at a zoning meeting held April 8th.
The property currently consists of the unused Joe Sieb community center and its parking lot, an undeveloped portion in the middle, and parking across from Edelweiss restaurant.
Exron wants to turn the entire property into a gas station with twelve pumps, and a convenience store open 24 hours. The store will have gambling and may even sell liquor.
The twelve-foot setbacks would be reduced to two and green space would be eliminated under the proposal, raising flooding concerns for a parcel that already has issues with standing water.
Despite the potential environmental impact underground gasoline storage tanks can have, no environmental study was done.
Local residents brought these issues to the zoning hearing on the 8th, but the zoning board failed to take any meaningful action on any of it.
The zoning chairman is required to ask several questions of the zoning board members prior to a vote, including if there is local opposition, or if it will affect local property values.
Incredibly, the zoning board answered “no” to both questions.
The message was clear: this zoning petition is to pass regardless of opposition.
Local residents opposed
In a letter sent to Village President Chmura and the Village trustees, residents asked the Village board to “delay the final vote on April 24” and to “instead hold public community meetings to inform us on the zoning request while also taking the time to listen to the community’s ideas of what to do with the vacant space”.
They are also concerned they will “not be able to complete a review of the information requested before the board meeting on April 24”.
This group of concerned citizens is correct. There is not enough time to do a thorough review of the proposal before the April 24 board meeting.
Even worse, because public comment at Village Board meetings is only allowed after votes are taken, the residents will not be able to speak to the Village board at all before the trustees vote.
Underground storage tank leaks
There have been incidents with gas stations and leaking underground fuel storage tanks in the area.
Norridge currently has five gas stations, and the Norridge Village Board should carefully consider any new gas stations in light of issues with underground storage tanks.
Lack of transparency and democratic process
The zoning board is just an advisory board packed with political appointees. It is the Village Board who has actual say whether or not to concur with the zoning board’s recommendations.
By not allowing residents to speak at the board meeting before the vote is to take place, the Village of Norridge is making a mockery of a proper democratic process.
The Village of Norridge should table this vote until a future board meeting, to give the neighborhood most affected by this development, as well as the greater community as a whole, a chance to consider and weigh in.
Edelweiss restaurant is also a stakeholder as they use the gravel portion of the lot for extra overflow parking.
Not only will it impact the local community, but it will also impact traffic on Irving Park Road.
Even if you’re not opposed to putting this development here, consider the following: if they can put a 12-pump gas station with 24 hour convenience store in this neighborhood (as they put a 24 hour X-Sport in another neighborhood)… they could put anything in your neighborhood.