Glen Ellyn gas station committee vote postponed at request of developer

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013 2:00 p.m. CDT

Neighbors of a proposed gas station near Glen Ellyn will wait until December for a DuPage County committee decision regarding the development many of them oppose.

The developer behind the gas station planned for the northeast corner of Butterfield Road and Illinois Route 53, asked that the item be deferred from the Nov. 5 DuPage County Board Development Committee meeting until members meet again Dec. 3.

In a letter to committee Chairman Sam Tornatore, Buchanan Energy attorney, Henry Stillwell, said the "request is made in good faith to allow sufficient time for the petitioner to review relevant aspects of the proposed development."

Stillwell declined to comment about those aspects or when Buchanan Energy knew it would be requesting the deferral. However, he did say the issues may affect what he has to say on behalf of the developer at the December meeting.

The request for deferral came as a surprise to Butterfield Park District Executive Director Larry Reiner, who is opposed to the development's proposed location directly west of the park district.

"I'm ready to go," Reiner said. "I was very surprised."

Reiner has spoken about the potential health risks of having a gas station in such close proximity to an area frequented by children at several meetings regarding the 1.5-acre development, which would include a 10-pump gas station, car wash and convenience store.

"This is not a park district issue," he said. "This is a community issue."

Reiner learned of the request shortly before the meeting and does not know the reasons behind it. While he wasn't sure whether to take the request as a positive indicator for his camp, he said perhaps the developer has recognized the merit in the health and safety information shared by the park district.

Many members of the public attended the Development Committee meeting to speak against Buchanan Energy's plans.

Between 25 and 30 community members signed up for public comment, and although few of them ultimately spoke, their names were entered into the minutes as being opposed to the development, Tornatore said.

The public will receive the opportunity to speak on this issue again Dec. 3, when Buchanan Energy and the Butterfield Park District provide their final comments.

The Development Committee received the request for deferral about 20 minutes before the meeting, Tornatore said. While that's not typical, it's not entirely unusual either, he said.

"At the end of the day, I think we're trying to do what's best, so if the petitioner wants to re-examine it for whatever reasons, I think we can wait another month," Tornatore said.

The DuPage County Zoning Board of Appeals recommended in July that Buchanan Energy receive a conditional use permit for the project, but the matter was returned to the board by the Development Committee for further investigation into possible health risks associated with the station.

Both the developer and the park district presented expert testimony about emissions and associated health issues at a special zoning hearing Sept. 26.

The Zoning Board of Appeals met Oct. 8 to pass the item to the Development Committee without changing its recommendation.

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