Will County panel gives OK to gas station and car wash near Tinley Park
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain firstname.lastname@example.org March 12, 2013 7:44PM
Updated: April 14, 2013 6:34AM
Lenny’s Gas N Wash, a controversial project proposed for 194th Street and Harlem Avenue in Frankfort Township, cleared a major hurdle Tuesday.
In a mixed vote, the Will County Board’s land use committee OK’d three special-use permits that would allow a 150-foot long car wash, drive-through food service and packaged liquor sales to be included in the proposed gas station/convenience store development.
Developer Leonard McEnery has the zoning he needs to build a gas station at the site, but he needs the special-use permits for the other elements of the business.
The committee’s vote is advisory. The zoning case still needs to be reviewed by the county board’s executive committee, which meets Thursday. Then the full county board will vote on the case during its next meeting, which begins at 9:30 a.m. March 21 at 302 N. Chicago St., Joliet.
Many residents of the Tinley Trails subdivision in Tinley Park, which is adjacent to the west side of the five-acre parcel, oppose the project. They say the project would disrupt their neighborhoods, pollute their air, endanger their children and increase crime.
They also worry that it would lead to traffic congestion on 194th and 195th streets, which would feature exits and entrances into the gas station project, especially now that 195th Street, also known as Lakeside Drive, has been extended to connect Harlem Avenue to 80th Avenue.
Residents met with McEnery to try to work out a compromise, but the homeowners were not satisfied.
According to Michael Smetana, senior planner at the Will County Land Use Department, McEnery agreed to move diesel refueling stations to the Harlem Avenue side of the business and farther away from homes.
Also, by requesting a change in zoning from C-3 to C-2 on a portion of the site, the entire development can be closer to Harlem Avenue because C-2 has smaller frontage requirements, Smetana explained.
Also, McEnery agreed to close certain aspects of the business an hour earlier: the car wash would be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and the drive-up window from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Lyman Tieman, an attorney representing McEnery, said a Dunkin’ Donuts might go in the convenience store, so the drive-through window would have to open early to capture morning commuters and customers.
Tieman also said the project would generate an estimated $715,000 in sales tax and $1.32 million in state and federal gas tax revenue annually.
The figures are based on a Lenny’s Gas N Wash that opened 13 months ago at 191st Street and 88th Avenue in Mokena. Project opponents say that Lenny’s Gas N Wash is in an industrial area buffered by more open space.
McEnery’s purchase of the Frankfort Township parcel from Suburban Bank and Trust is contingent on him getting approval from the county board.
The county board has jurisdiction over the parcel because it is in an unincorporated area that hasn’t been annexed into a municipality.