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updated: 11/22/2021 9:42 PM

Controversial gas station plan again progresses in Mundelein

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Despite substantial opposition from nearby residents, Mundelein's village board on Monday moved closer to greenlighting a plan to build a gas station and convenience store on the village's north side.

By directing village staffers to draft ordinances for a trio of requested building-code variances concerning lighting, fence height and building location, trustees paved the way for the proposed Thorntons station to be built on the northeast corner of routes 45 and 176.

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.

The developer, Northbrook-based GMX Real Estate Group, initially floated a gas station plan last year but withdrew it from consideration earlier this year after nearby residents and the village's planning and zoning commission voiced concerns about traffic, the environment and other issues.

GMX submitted a revised proposal to village hall last month. Changes included a smaller convenience store and the elimination of diesel fueling stations for large trucks.

The planning commission voted last week to recommend that the village board approve the requested building code variations.

But the modifications weren't good enough for more than a dozen Mundelein residents who spoke against the plan during Monday's village board meeting.

Some raised concerns about potential environmental impacts, while others said a station would hurt property values.

One speaker, Elizabeth Johnson, said GMX created its own hardship by buying the land knowing a gas station wouldn't comply with village codes.

Mayor Steve Lentz praised the critics for being passionate about the issue but said some rumors and mailers spread about the project were "deceptive" and "disingenuous."

Lentz asked for a public apology. None came.

The proposals to draft ordinances regarding building location and lighting passed 5-1, with Trustee Kara Lambert casting the lone "no" votes.

The proposal to draft an ordinance allowing a taller-than-usual fence passed unanimously.

Votes on the actual ordinances could come next month.