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updated: 11/19/2021 6:40 PM

Controversial Thorntons plan moves forward in Mundelein

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A controversial plan to build a gas station and convenience store on Mundelein's north side cleared some important bureaucratic hurdles this week.

After hours of discussion that included many comments from people opposed to the proposal, Mundelein's planning and zoning commission voted just after midnight Wednesday to recommend the village board allow a trio of building-code variances for the Thorntons station proposed for the northeast corner of routes 45 and 176.

The commission advises the board on building and zoning matters. It doesn't have final say on the issues.

The board is set to consider the plan when it meets at 7 p.m. Monday at village hall, 300 Plaza Circle.

The planning commission voted 4-3 to recommend the board let the developer, Northbrook-based GMX Real Estate Group, build the proposed convenience store closer to the property line than usually is allowed. However, Community Development Director Amanda Orenchuk said the panel created three conditions:

• Fueling for large, diesel-powered trucks is forbidden.

• Video gambling is forbidden.

• Village staff and GMX will determine if residents in the neighboring Holcomb subdivision want a fence on that side of the property. If most people don't want a fence, the developer will have to put a plant-covered wall there.

The commission also voted 5-2 to recommend allowing the gas station canopy to have brighter lighting than usually is permitted.

Finally, the commission voted 6-0 to recommend approval of a proposed 8-foot-high fence along the eastern property line.

The roughly 2.8-acre site is at one of the village's busier entry points. The former Original Omega Restaurant and a vacant industrial building stand on the land now, and both would be razed.

GMX initially floated a gas station plan last year but withdrew it from consideration earlier this year after nearby residents and the planning commission voiced concerns about traffic, light and other issues.

Rejection by the village board would have forced the developers to wait at least one year before resubmitting the proposal, so voluntarily pulling it avoided that potential penalty.

A revised proposal was submitted to village hall last month.

Changes included a reduction in the size of the planned convenience store, a reduction in the proposed amount of light to be generated at the site and the elimination of truck fueling stations.