County considers new self-storage buildings on old motel site near Carol Stream

  • The family that owns the Coachlight Motel property in an unincorporated area near Carol Stream wants to tear it own and build a self-storage facility along North Avenue.

      The family that owns the Coachlight Motel property in an unincorporated area near Carol Stream wants to tear it own and build a self-storage facility along North Avenue. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer, July 2021

  • The vacant Coachlight Motel sits at 27W010 North Avenue. The neighboring property is a dog park.

      The vacant Coachlight Motel sits at 27W010 North Avenue. The neighboring property is a dog park. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer, July 2021

  • The Coachlight Motel property sits in an unincorporated area that's contiguous to the municipal boundaries of the village of Carol Stream.

      The Coachlight Motel property sits in an unincorporated area that's contiguous to the municipal boundaries of the village of Carol Stream. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer, July 2021

 
 
Updated 12/10/2021 4:13 PM

Two acres of land near Carol Stream hold sentimental value for Jon Stults and his family.

His late parents opened a midcentury roadside motel on their North Avenue property -- a place where he spent much of his childhood.

 

After his dad died at the age of 50 in 1965, the business became a "godsend" for his mother, Esther, who kept the old Coachlight Motel running well into her 80s.

The family still owns the land, but the shuttered motel has seen better days. Stults wants to tear it down to make way for a self-storage development.

DuPage County Board members who serve on a development committee have endorsed the plans. The full board is expected to vote on final approval for the self-storage project at a Tuesday meeting.

Stults also intends to keep a pair of large sycamore trees as lasting reminders of his parents' motel business.

"One of the driving forces of the whole site plan was to preserve two sycamore trees in the front," Brian Armstrong, an attorney for Stults, told the county's zoning board of appeals last month.

While the land will continue to stay in the family, the proposal calls for a national chain -- Extra Space Storage -- to operate the buildings at North Avenue and Ethel Street, just east of County Farm Road.

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Customers would access the storage units from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Employees would be on-site from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

The main self-storage building would be three stories tall and 71,550 square feet. As proposed, it would contain about 600 climate-controlled units inside the building.

In addition, a one-story, 10,800-square-foot, drive-through building would sit to the north of the larger facility.

Armstrong said, "there's a very strong demand for this type of building, and it's especially strong demand for climate-controlled self-storage."

The property is unincorporated, putting the project ultimately under the purview of the county board. But the site touches the municipal boundaries of Carol Stream.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

In a July letter to the county zoning board, village officials raised concerns and questions about the initial plans, suggesting that the facility wouldn't fit with their long-term vision for redevelopment along the North Avenue corridor.

The motel site falls within 60 acres that Carol Stream has designated as a "key opportunity area" near North Avenue and County Farm Road. In recent years, more than 12 acres of land in that area have been annexed into the village.

However, since the July letter, Carol Stream officials say they have not filed any objection or opposition to the self-storage project.

Community Development Director Don Bastian said the village received updated information from the county, including building elevations and landscape plans.

"We think the plans are reasonable," Bastian said. "If the property was in Carol Stream, our standards and requirements for the development would have been different, but we think the plans that were put forward are reasonable."

Though the Coachlight is closed, the owner and the Carol Stream Park District have an agreement through which visitors to the adjacent dog park can use the motel parking lot.

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