Board of trustees denies car wash plan in Lincolnwood
by JASON MEREL
The Lincolnwood Village Board of Trustees at its Dec. 1 meeting denied special use permits and other variations for a proposed Fuller’s car wash at 3757 W. Touhy Ave., with mayor Barry Bass casting the tie-breaking vote to nix the proposal after several residents expressed concerns.
The proposed development would feature a facility with an automated “tunnel” car wash, 14 vacuum stations, and a series of vehicular drive aisles as well as a “buffer” wall separating the wash from residential properties. The developer also proposed to pay a fee to the village in addition to whatever tax revenue the business would generate.
However, residents expressed concerns about the noise the car wash would attract from waiting vehicles, traffic incidents and crime in the area and a general distrust in village government after residents said they were not adequately informed about the proposed development.
“Every vote for this car wash is a vote against what Lincolnwood really is,” one resident said. “It would mean you don’t care who is negatively impacted by this car wash, and believe me, we will be negatively impacted. We are trying to preserve what Lincolnwood means to all of us.”
“If you really want to see a Fuller’s car wash at a full capacity, you go to the one that’s next to another car wash, which is Snappy’s, which is located on Clark and Ridge,” a second resident said. “That one is smack right next to a car wash, but if you go there, you will be amazed at how busy it is and how much noise, not the car wash itself but the people washing their vehicles. A majority of the people that go to these $4 car washes are younger people that can’t afford to go to a hand car wash. This is going to bring about 400 people to my backyard every day.”
Another resident said that she was not informed about the proposal. “I was told that there had been notifications that went out. If they did, where were they? USPS has been having problems. I can’t prove I never got it but I understand no one else did, either,” the resident said. She also said that she had heard rumors that a different site was originally suggested for the car wash. “And then, I understand that one of the village trustees showed him this new location, right behind our homes. The other location was not residential,” the resident said.
Before making a decision on how he would vote, Trustee Craig Klatzco said he brought equipment to a different Fuller’s car wash to measure the decibel levels and then recorded the sound levels from traffic near the proposed site along Touhy Avenue. He said the car wash made less noise than the existing traffic noise.
“I’d like to address another concern,” Klatzco said. “People say it’s going to bring criminals into it and I don’t see any empirical evidence or data, and if the chief (of police Jason Parrott) is there maybe he can help me, but car washes don’t – they’re not selling anything, there’s no reason for somebody to come in there. If there was a loud music thing, it’s against our ordinance and it would be dealt with. I went to the Harwood Heights location and started walking around the property and a man came out and said, ‘Hey, what are you doing here?’”
Trustee Georjean Hlepas-Nickell said her problem was that 25 to 30 vehicles would be idling behind a wall next to a private residence. She said there is no measure of how that would affect the air quality for residents.
“I am beyond disturbed by a lot of things but the thing that’s most alarming to me is the allegation that was made about a trustee showing the Fuller operators this site,” Hlepas-Nickell said. “That’s not our job. And I find that to be an egregious conflict of interest. I hope it’s not true. So I can tell you on the onset, I am a hard no, but I am asking that the president of this board pursue an investigation to determine whether that allegation is true or false because I think that this community should be afforded the complete transparency that should be aligned with all the decisions we make.”
“If that’s true, someone needs to be censured or offer a resignation and I think that’s outrageous,” she continued.
Trustee Jesal Patel pointed out that the matter before the board was not whether a car wash should be allowed, as the property was zoned for the use.
Trustees voting in favor were Klatzco, Ikezoe-Hllevi and Patel.
Trustees Sargon, Hlepas-Nickell and Cope voted against the proposal.
“Initially I thought this would work,” Bass said. “Initially I saw a Touhy address and then after going down Ridgeway and Hamlin and realizing that no one had knowledge of this. You know, I made phone calls on this just as an investigation type of thing to see, ‘Did you get knowledge of any shape or form of any prospective project behind you on Ridgeway?’” Bass voted against the car wash at this location.
Village attorney Stephen Elrod recommended that a motion be made to deny the application for the proposed site. The vote was split again and Bass broke the tie to deny the application for the site.
The board also approved an ordinance granting a special use permit allowing an online-only alcohol retailer to operate out of the re-imagined Lincolnwood Town Center warehouse at 7080 to 7100 North McCormick Boulevard. Trustees also voted to amend the village code to allow for a sixth Class B liquor license in the village. The proposed use will occupy approximately 1,000 square-feet and the business will conduct online sales of wine and liquor with direct shipping to customers, according to village staff.
The Lincolnwood village board also approved an ordinance granting a special use permit allowing an online-only alcohol retailer to operate out of the re-imagined Lincolnwood Town Center warehouse at 7080 to 7100 North McCormick Boulevard. After the special use was granted, trustees also voted to amend the village code to allow for a sixth Class B liquor license in the village.
The proposed use will occupy approximately 1,000 square-feet and the business will conduct online sales of wine and liquor with direct shipping to customers, according to village staff. The ordinance recommendation from the Plan Commission granted the special use permit to the business owner for an operation up to 10,000 square-feet, so the business has room to expand.