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Residents Resist Potential New Walgreens Store

Most of Tuesday night's village council meeting was focused on a discussion about annexation, lot consolidation, rezoning and a special use permit for a proposed Walgreens on 63rd Street.

A potential new Walgreens on the northwest corner of 63rd Street and Woodward Avenue brought residents out in full force to Tuesday night's village council meeting.

After the consent agenda and items on the active agenda quickly passed unanimously, the initial item up for a first read dominated the meeting.

The petitioner, who would like to build a Walgreens with a drive-thru, is requesting four things from the council to accomplish their goal: 1) annexation, 2) rezoning, 3) lot consolidation, and 4) special use permit for the drive-thru.

The land is currently an unincorporated residential area. The petitioner would like to become annexed into the village and they'd like the land to be rezoned for retail.

The property (1.9 acres) is currently six lots and the owner is looking to consolidate it into one lot. And, lastly, building a drive-thru requires a special use permit.

If all this were to go through, the Walgreens on 63rd Street and Belmont Road will close.

The overwhelming majority of the residents present voiced their disapproval of the idea. Many cited traffic concerns and safety concerns with children walking to nearby schools.

One resident, who said she lives 250 ft. from the proposed site, called the plan “outrageous,” saying, “We feel this is an inappropriate location for this sort of property." 

She pointed out that there were many vacant properties in the area and it seems “absurd” to take over a residential area.

Another resident noted that, according to a MapQuest search, there are 28 pharmacies within a 5-mile radius, and 18 pharmacies within a 3-mile radius.

Some residents didn’t like the fact that the property would be turned into a retail area from a residential area.

However, one resident expressed that the location in question has changed over the years and is not suitable as a residential area anymore.

Commissioner Geoff Neustadt said he was concerned about traffic trying to go eastbound out of the exit on 63rd Street. He said he would be prefer a “no left turn” there.

Besides the traffic concerns, he said he was comfortable with the proposed plan.

Commissioner Sean Durkin was also in favor of it: “I support this; I see this as an economic opportunity for us." 

It’s estimated that the store will generate over $100,000 in sales tax.

Commissioner William Waldack said he hadn’t made a decision yet, but wanted to know that all the residents—both from the village and from the unincorporated area--had a voice that was being heard.

The Plan Commission voted 7–1 to not recommend the plan; however, village staff recommends approval of the plan.

Mayor Martin Tully said his opinion was that out of the four issues involved with the request (annexation, rezoning, etc.) it all comes down to the special use permit, because the other requests seem reasonable and appropriate.

The council will vote on the matter at a future meeting.

William Vollrath February 17, 2012 at 10:54 PM
Sorry, I also meant to say that anyone who thinks a possible court ruling affecting the bankrupt owner of the strip center will suddenly make that an attractive location really has their rose colored glasses on high power!
nuffsaid February 17, 2012 at 11:52 PM
i have a suggestion for everyone who wants the Walgreens to locate across the street in an existing shopping center. why don't you all get together, buy the shopping center and then negotiate with Walgreens. You all throw these suggestions out like there is a lot of control in Walgreen's or the Village's hands what a private owner of a shopping center should be doing.
Patty February 18, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Walgreen's leases from the developer. The developer for Walgreen's negotiate with strip mall owner all the time, example Walgreen's at 63rd St. and Cass Ave., it's in a strip mall, Walgreen's on Maple and Route 53, it's in a strip mall or the Walgreen's on Lemont Rd. near 75th St., it's in a strip mall. Anyway, according to Mr. Vollrath, a business can go anywhere they want to go. The Downers Grove planning commission even questioned Walgreen's attorney's and developer Draper and Kramer as to why they don't build in the Meadowbrook shopping center. Maybe the owner of Meadowbrook doesn't want to sell part of his shopping center parking lot to Draper and Kramer. They'll never know until they try to negotiate a deal. Considering the owner of the shopping center is having financial issues, he very well may be ready to give up a little piece of his pie. The negativity of this thread is bringing me down. I know longer will be wasting my precious time and energy responding to the nay sayers. You obviously would rather side with corporate greed than the plight of your fellow neighbors.
Patty February 18, 2012 at 01:00 AM
The strip mall may not be attractive, but the strip mall owner has given his tenants reasonable rental rates that has kept Meadowbrook shopping center at 90% capacity. A lot better than many of the newer strip malls that sit empty through out the Village and county! And yes William, I am a glass is half full type of girl. Your negativity is bringing me down, down, down. I suggest you get yourself a cup of chamomile tea, a warm bath, some lavender and vanilla aromatherapy candles and a book on anger management. I know longer will be wasting my precious time and energy on your negative and closed minded statements. You obviously have no compassion for your fellow man. It appears you would rather side with corporate greed than to help your fellow neighbor. Good Evening and Peace be with you.
Patty February 18, 2012 at 01:19 AM
One last thing before I'm done with you William. I now have another reason I don't want Walgreen's to build at 63rd St. and Woodward, because you might be a future patron and then you would be entering my "hood" and I don't want you here either!
William Vollrath February 18, 2012 at 09:45 AM
Well, actually I said they won't go where they don't want to go, but why start being accurate now...
William Vollrath February 18, 2012 at 09:52 AM
Love and peace to you also Patty. What was that about anger management...
Linda McLaughlin February 20, 2012 at 09:50 PM
I would think that Village staff and council would want to keep these residents happy. Are they not going to be asked to vote on whether they'd like to annex into the Village of Downers Grove next year? Unhappy homeowners who have banded together over an issue like this have very long memories. And that neighborhood's real estate taxes will have a much greater financial impact for a much longer length of time than a new Walgreens. Just sayin'.
goddess February 20, 2012 at 10:26 PM
They won't give up on the south side of Downers just because they don't get the corner they want. They can't afford to loose more ground to CVS. So, if they don't get what they want, trust me, they will end up across the street. They really don't have a choice.
Jon February 22, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Goddess I have respect for those homes. They want to sell to Walgreens so they can upgrade. You are the one that does not want to respect their rights to sell and get out. To everyone that keeps saying 1200 cars are going to go down Woodward did you forget that the most convinient and logical choice is the 4 lane highway called 63rd street.
goddess February 22, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Jon, what about the people who will now be living next to the Walgreens? I have no problem with those who have sold. Good for them, that's their choice. I'm worried about the neighbors left behind. Can you imagine trying to sell a house next to or across the street from a Walgreens. Even a few doors down. The day that store goes in is the day their house loses a considerable amount of money. Who is going to make them whole? No one, that's who. To many are willing the sell them out so they can have a fancy store with a drive through. Yet, if you asked everyone who is for the store but not affected by the location to donate, let's say, $20,000 each to the neighbors who have now seen their largest invest crash and burn, how many would be willing to do that? None. And yet there seems to people who have no problem asking the homeowners to pay that price and more for the convenience of others. I have no problem with Walgreens. I'm just saying they should build across the street where a store of their type belongs. No way Walgreens lets CVS take over that part of town. If they don't get their way suddenly the locations they've nixed will be back on the table.
Ron Burgandy February 22, 2012 at 10:52 PM
I agree Kent, that shopping center is an eyesore, a Walgreens could make it look better.
Ron Burgandy February 22, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Your signatures mean nothing Linda. If the council has made up thier mind its done.
Ron Burgandy February 22, 2012 at 10:54 PM
That location is taken. See Kent's post of go visit that location which Chase has almost already built.
Ron Burgandy February 22, 2012 at 10:55 PM
I am going to be very sarcastic here...bare with me...The village may say that Walgreens can't build in Meadowbrook because that lot is used for the Communter Shuttle! LOLOLOLOLOLOL
Ron Burgandy February 22, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Economic opportunity should be the only deciding factor.
Ron Burgandy February 22, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Besides that area is a pit anyway. I know it's thier pit!
Ron Burgandy February 22, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Why in this day and age do we still have unicorporated areas?
Ron Burgandy February 22, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Move on people. Noone cares about your worthless signatures.
Ron Burgandy February 22, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Not close at all. There are pedifiles who live closer. I have checked.
Ron Burgandy February 22, 2012 at 11:04 PM
We already have that Pat. Across from Michaels and Ultra.
Ron Burgandy February 22, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Encroaching on a crummy residential area where people don't seem to take care of thier properties you mean? LOL
Ron Burgandy February 22, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Where are all those senior citizens who protest all the time in this town? Seems to me they would love this new Walgreen's.
Ron Burgandy February 22, 2012 at 11:08 PM
Patty, Believe us we don't want to shop in your hood, we are lible to get shot! LOL
Ron Burgandy February 22, 2012 at 11:08 PM
That will happen...and monkies will fly outta my butt! LOL
Jon February 24, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Well annex that whole area then the problem will be solved because you are saying the village only listens to residents of the village. Annex your homes pay for services incorporated areas are subsidizing for you like roads, brush pickup, and sheriffs services. The village will listen and the Walgreens will not be built. Thank you for supporting the annexexation of the area.
Jon February 24, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Since all of the residents opposed to the Walgreens are saying this about home values then lets keep the issue focused on home values. It is proven that homes in incorporated Downers Grove are valued higher than in unincorporated areas. Just check with the Assesors office. So in the spirt of only talking about home values incorporate the entire area under the condition the Walgreens does not get approved. Your home values go up the Walgreens dosen't get built and the Village increases its tax base. A win for residents all around
Patty February 25, 2012 at 03:27 AM
Jon, this area, also known as Downers Grove Gardens, is unincorporated Downers Grove, Lisle Township. Lisle Township maintains our roads, handles our snow removal, and roadside leaf pick up. Our fire department is Darien - Woodridge and we are policed by the DuPage County Sherrifs Department. We pay for all of these services through our property taxes in addition we pay for district 58 and 99. Incorporated areas are not subsidizing anything for us.
curt van loon May 22, 2012 at 09:59 PM
dear bill, if you didn't know, we already have a life. and we happen to like our lives . this land grab the village wants is bad politics. did you even look at the plans? you can't get into the property UNLESS your going EAST on 63rd or South on woodward (which by the way is a residential street.) . go shop at CVS. they have a drive thru so you don't have to get out of your car.
William Vollrath May 23, 2012 at 09:21 AM
Curt, "Access only from eastbound 63rd." That doesn't make a lot of sense and even if traffic from 63rd must first turn onto Woodward for 50 yards, so what. I believe the issue is more traffic exiting the store. Safe traffic flow needs to be addressed, and assuming it can be, a new Walgreens at this location or somewhere close by would be a positive for south Downers Grove.

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