Concerns raised over car wash, gas station plan
by KATHRYN MERCK
Residents expressed concerns regarding a proposal to build a gas station, a 24-hour 7-Eleven store and a car wash on a lot at the intersection of Foster and Elston avenues.
The Forest Glen Community Club held a community meeting about the proposal Tuesday, Dec. 17, at the Congregational Church of Forest Glen, 5400 N. Lawler Ave.
About 50 residents heard a presentation by GW Properties, which seeks to demolish the current auto repair shop and build the gas station, the store and the car wash. A portion of the project would be built on a grassy lot located behind the existing repair shop. The developer plans to acquire the lot from Trinity Lutheran Church, 5106 N. LaCrosse Ave.
GW Properties principal Mitch Glotz presented a preliminary site plan and renderings of how the development would look like. Rendering show two entrances from Foster Avenue and one entrance from Elston Avenue as well as landscaping and trees.
The site would feature a 3,500-square foot 7-eleven store, a 990-square car wash, 27 regular parking spaces and one handicapped-accessible spot, 12 gas pumps and a trash enclosure.
Plans also call for the 24-hour convenience store to sell craft coffees, fresh fruit and sandwiches, but no alcohol. The city does not allow liquor sales at stores that are part of gas stations. The project would require the Zoning Board of Appeals to issue a special use for the gas station.
"I think the development will provide a nice face lift compared to what is there today," Glotz said.
Residents were mainly concerned about traffic that the new development could bring to the area. With other gas stations just blocks away, a congested intersection, and the dangers of an all-night business, many residents have concerns about the development and proposed other ideas such as a chain coffee shop or a restaurant.
"Forest Glen is unique in being a neighborhood. We don’t need a development. There are beautiful fir trees on the grounds of the church that should be left alone," Forest Glen resident Barbara Meyer said.
Derrick Svelnys, the congregational president of Trinity Lutheran Church, said this was the first that he had heard of the proposal.
"We want something that will benefit the community," Svelnys said. He also voiced concern with traffic issues that the development could bring.
Alderman Samantha Nugent (39th) was not present at the meeting. Nugent typically does not attend the meetings in order to let the community voice their concerns without tainting the proceedings with her presence. Feedback is usually forwarded to her office following the meetings.
Nugent (39th) said in the past that she has not decided whether to support the proposal. "I’m waiting to hear what the community feels," she said. "It’d be nice to have something nice that the community wants and would use."
Club board president Jessica Mai-Lombardo encouraged resident to voice their opinions on the issue so the Nugent could be made aware of the community’s stance.
The club will conduct a poll on its page on Facebook to determine if the community supports the project.
For more information, visit https://forestglenchicago.org.