A gas station and car wash will not be constructed on the far west side of Montgomery as a result of action taken by the village board Monday, April 23.
In a 4-2 vote, board members rejected a motion to grant a special use permit required for the project.
GLR Ventures LLC had requested the permit to construct the Gas N Wash on a vacant parcel at the southeast corner of Route 30 and Gordon Road.
As proposed by GLR Ventures, the project would have included a combination gas station and convenience store and an automated car wash.
Prior to balloting, board members heard testimony from several nearby homeowners who expressed concern over the project’s potential negative impact on their homes and neighborhoods. The homeowners said the gas station would reduce their property values, pose a health hazard and increase traffic. Some homeowners also objected to the possibility that the convenience store might offer video gaming terminals.
Representatives for GLR Ventures, however, told board members that project would generate 40 to 50 new jobs and between $400,000 and $500,000 in additional annual sales tax revenues for the village.
Board members voiced differing opinions on the permit request prior to balloting.
Board member Pete Heinz reminded his colleagues they have been “working hard” to attract new businesses and industry to the village.
“We won’t get them if we keep turning them down,” Heinz said.
Board member Denny Lee dismissed homeowners’ charges that the gas station would pose a health risk or that the gas station would create a traffic problem in the adjoining residential neighborhoods.
Lee also recalled that the board heard similar concerns more than a decade ago as it considered plans for the Walmart store that opened in 2006 at the southeast corner of Route 30 and Orchard Road.
Lee lamented that there has been “so much misinformation” circulated by opponents of the project over the past several weeks. If constructed as proposed, he suggested homeowners would become accustomed to and patronize the gas station, convenience store and car wash.
“I live 100 yards from Route 31 and a block and a half from the bypass [Route 30] bridge and I’m so used to it,” Lee said.
Board member Steve Jungermann, however, noted that 79 percent of the 686 respondents to a Facebook poll he conducted were opposed to the project.
Jungermann noted that he has continued to hear comments from residents who believe the proposed gas station and car wash would be “too intense” a development for the proposed location.
“If it was a little further west on Route 30, I wouldn’t have an issue with it,” Jungermann said, adding, “But if it was behind my house I wouldn’t like it.”
Board member Doug Marecek said he and his board colleagues have “done their homework” in reviewing plans for the project, and noted that he visited other Gas N Washes in Shorewood and Plainfield.
Marecek said he talked with a Shorewood resident who circulated petitions against the Gas N Wash when it was proposed on West Jefferson Street in that community a few years ago. He said the resident told him that the concerns that she and her neighbors raised over the project have proven largely unfounded.
Board member Stan Bond noted that developers have revised the project plans since they were last reviewed and rejected by the village’s plan commission. He suggested the board consider sending the current plans back to the commission for further review.
Board member Theresa Sperling said she appreciated all of the changes that developers have made in their plans at the village’s request, but expressed concern over the location.
Sperling said she believes the village needs a gas station west of Orchard Road but not at the Route 30 and Gordon Road location, based on homeowners’ comments.
On the motion to grant the permit, board members Lee and Heinz voted in favor, while board members Marecek, Jungermann, Bond and Sperling voted against.