Gas station coming to Grayslake despite resident opposition
The Grayslake village board approved a plan late Tuesday to build a Casey's General Store and gas station at the southwest corner of Lake Street and Belvidere Road near the town's namesake lake.
The vote was 5-1 in favor, with Trustee Laura Dias casting the dissenting vote.
The project had garnered strenuous, organized opposition from some residents who fear it would have dire effects on the environment, property values and local traffic patterns.
Many residents spoke against the plan during the nearly two-hour public comment portion of Tuesday's virtual board meeting held via Zoom. After public input, trustees had a chance to speak, many reading from prepared statements.
Dias listed among her oppositions how close the gas station would be to Westlake Christian Academy, which is just across the intersection.
Trustee Ron Jarvis said as a regular lake user he initially had concerns about the potential environmental impacts, but those were dispelled after reviewing the independent environmental analysis provided by the developers. Jarvis called the report thorough and the best data he's received in his 15-year tenure on the board.
"If that's detrimental to my political career, it doesn't matter," Jarvis said of supporting the project. "We're supposed to treat people as people, and business owners and land owners are people, too."
The approval of the gas station means that Lake Street Motors, the used car lot now located on the site of the future Casey's, must vacate. Lake Street Motors owner James Jeffrey said Wednesday he has several relocation options in the area and now will have to weigh those more seriously. He said more of the business' sales come from the internet now so it matters less where it is located. But, he said, he'd rather not leave the spot by the lake.
"We love the location; we love the drive-by traffic we get," Jeffrey said. "It's not anyone's ideal situation."
Mary Ann Scroggins, who founded the residents group "Yes to Grayslake, No to Casey's Gas Station," said even though the plan was approved, the process woke residents up and connected people in the community. She said the name of the group will change to simply "Yes to Grayslake" and will continue on as a platform to fight for the community.
"The mayor and trustees need us to forget what happened last night to be reelected," Scroggins said. "We're going to do the opposite."