GLEN ELLYN – David Hartsell doesn't want to see a gas station being built in his neighborhood – again.
"The village spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy this property and to knock down this old dilapidated contaminated gas station that had been abandoned here – taxpayer money – and then we spend tens of thousands of dollars more to remediate the property and remove the contamination," said Hartsell, who lives on Meredith Place. "All to just turn it back into a gas station? That doesn't make any sense. It's not acceptable."
Hartsell, along with his fellow neighbors and other Glen Ellyn residents, were at the southeast corner of St. Charles Road and Main Street in Glen Ellyn – the site of the proposed 12-pump, 24-hour gas station – on April 18, protesting the proposed plans.
Neighbors also have voiced health concerns, along with concerns about the amount of traffic the proposal would generate. The Glen Ellyn Village Board in February 2016 voted to sell the 1.35-acre property to True North Energy LLC for $630,000 for the development of a gas station and convenience store.
The village purchased the land for $590,000 in September 2010 and invested $90,000 in remediation, demolition and restoration efforts over six years, Glen Ellyn Economic Development Coordinator Meredith Hannah told village officials at the time.
Previously, a dilapidated gas station had been located on the property, which is near Stacy's Tavern Museum. The property is zoned commercial and has an average daily traffic volume of about 20,000 vehicles, Hannah said.
The majority of village trustees on March 13 voted to approve a special-use permit for the gas station and convenience store proposed at 825 N. Main St. They also approved sign code variations for the project.
Trustees will vote at a later date – perhaps at their April 24 meeting – on the petitioner's requested variations from the village's zoning code, along with the project's exterior appearance.
Brett Wallin, who lives on Lenox Road, said he was worried about the health problems the gas station would cause. He said studies show there is an increased risk of cancer for people living near a gas station.
"A lot of cities have legislation that mandates a separation between gas stations and residential properties," he said.
Diana Martinez, who lives on Elm Street near the proposed project, said neighbors aren't the only ones opposed to the plans. Green "Say No! 24/7 Gas Station Liquor Store on 5-Corners" signs can be seen on lawns across the village.
"It's pretty amazing," Martinez said. "It's really overwhelming to see the support that we have from everybody."
Martinez and other residents repeated their concerns about the proposal to village trustees at their workshop meeting April 17.
Members of the village's Plan Commission in February recommended against approving the project. Numerous concerns had been raised by commission members and nearby residents, including stormwater runoff, the need for additional landscaping and fencing, the gas station canopy not fitting the character of the neighborhood, and lighting.
True North Chief Operating Officer Ryan Howard previously told trustees and residents the company has revised its plans to make the project fit in better with the area.
"We wouldn't have offered these concessions unless we really desired to be part of your community, which we do," Howard had said.