New Lenox Against a Gas Station at 2601 East Lincoln Highway
New Lenox Against a Gas Station at 2601 East Lincoln Highway
This is a petition against the proposed annexation to the village of New Lenox, IL, and the rezoning to C3 of the property at the northeast corner of US Route 30 and West Circle Drive, commonly known as 2601 East Lincoln Highway. The petitioner, Erik Nikkel, of Casey’s Retail Company, Ankeny, Iowa, wants to build a Casey’s General Store and Gas Station at this location.
To be clear, we are not against the commercial use of this property, formerly Smith Brother’s Landscaping. We are specifically against a gas station for the following reasons:
1. At just under 2.2 acres, the property is too small to accommodate a development of this size. There are larger parcels of land located closer to the Interstate 80 corridor better suited for a gas station, and there are better business options – local ones – of a more appropriate scale which could be put at this location.
2. The property is immediately adjacent to the following: an Animal Hospital; a ravine/run-off creek that drains directly into Hickory Creek and then the Des Plaines River; an older unincorporated residential neighborhood (Lincolnwood Hills) in a flood plane where residents rely on well water, often with wells below modern code standards. Numerous studies cited herein establish the dangers of underground storage tanks (USTs).
3. Incorporation of this property does not benefit the residents of Lincolnwood Hills. Tax revenue generated by a gas station – negligible at best – benefits the village of New Lenox, while the people immediately adjacent to the gas station are left with the fumes, light and noise pollution, effluence, traffic congestion, property devaluation, and crime. Each of these negative side-effects have reliable scientific studies to support them as valid concerns. How will tax revenue benefit the village of New Lenox?
4. While many studies exist as to the adverse effects of putting a gas station at this location, neither the petitioner Erik Nikkel, nor the property owner, NNN NEW LENOX LLC % BSTP MIDWEST LLC M MACKINNON, have made public any peer-reviewed studies in support of this proposal. The following questions need to be addressed:
a. Why are 2 new gas stations needed within the 3 mile stretch when there are 5 others already there? What studies show the local economy can sustain 2 gas stations and not leave the area with an eyesore and unsupervised storage tanks if one folds?
b. Blueprints in the proposal do not show how many USTs there are to be, nor where.
c. How will wells/drinking water be protected?
d. Where are the studies about noise, traffic, pollution, impact on groundwater, and impact on sewer/stormwater in this low flooding area?
e. How is the proposal in compliance with Fire Marshal Code Section 175.430 -Clearance Required for USTs:
i. Distance to Basements. No UST shall be less than 20 feet from any basement, cellar, pit or below-grade excavation on or off the property.
ii. Distance to Sewers. Individual tanks and piping shall be buried so that the tops of the tanks and piping are lower than the bottom level of all sewers, manholes, catch-basins, cesspools, septic tanks, septic tank clean out stations, wells or cisterns within 20 feet, on or off the property, or tanks and piping shall maintain a full clearance of 20 feet.
iii. Distance to Property Lines. Individual tanks shall be at least 20 feet to property lines unless these clearances on the side adjacent to a public street, alley or highway are waived by consent of the authority having immediate jurisdiction over the public street, alley or highway.
iv. Distance to Special Classes of Property. Tanks and dispensers shall maintain a clearance of not less than 300 feet to any mine shaft, air or escape shaft for any mine and 85 feet to any educational, health care or assembly occupancy, as defined in 41 Ill. Adm. Code 100. The distance shall be measured from the nearest points of tanks and pumps to the nearest points of buildings or shafts.”
5. Pursuant to Illinois Municipal Law 65 ILCS 5 regarding the annexation/disconnection from a municipality, are the following terms met:
a. The property must be on the border of the municipality.
b. It must be larger than 20 acres.
c. It can't leave isolated the municipality it's disconnecting from.
d. The growth prospects, planning and zoning of the area must not unreasonably disrupt the municipality.
e. It would not severely disrupt major services, such as sewer systems and street lighting.
f. The municipality cannot be harmed by loss of tax revenue
Some of this research was discovered by citizens of Lake Zurich, IL, and used in their successful rejection of a similar proposal.
VIOLENCE and CRIME: The Center for Problem-Oriented Policing says 8.3% of robberies occur at retail establishments like gas stations, or convenience stores.
GAS STATION EFFLUENT: Commercial establishments like gas stations and car washes will generate large amount of effluent. The potential for groundwater contamination and loss of air quality - ground level ozone by gas fumes and hazards from petroleum products leaking into the ground is LARGE. Repeated exposure to gasoline (liquid or vapor) can cause lung, brain and kidney damage (NIH’s National Library of Medicine). A 2003-2004 study conducted in France documented a significant relationship between childhood leukemia and living near a gas station. In 2012, Brazilian researchers found that air quality was significantly degraded up to 150 meters (492 feet) from gas stations. Release of a variety of polluting materials that settle on parking lots and other impervious surfaces which then wash into nearby ground or surface waters with each rain. The proposed gas station is next to a hospital, residences, a run-off creek, and a candy store.
Anifowose, B., et al. “A Systematic Quality Assessment of Environmental Impact Statements in the Oil and Gas Industry.” Science of The Total Environment, vol. 572, Dec. 2016, pp. 570–85. DOI.org (Crossref), doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.07.083.
Elliott, Elise G., et al. “A Community-Based Evaluation of Proximity to Unconventional Oil and Gas Wells, Drinking Water Contaminants, and Health Symptoms in Ohio.” Environmental Research, vol. 167, Nov. 2018, pp. 550–57. DOI.org (Crossref), doi:10.1016/j.envres.2018.08.022.
Snelling, Jeff, et al. “METHYL-TERT-HEXYL ETHER AND METHYL-TERT-OCTYL ETHER AS GASOLINE OXYGENATES: ANTICIPATING WIDESPREAD RISKS TO COMMUNITY WATER SUPPLY WELLS.” Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, vol. 26, no. 11, 2007, p. 2253. DOI.org (Crossref), doi:10.1897/06-473R.1.
NOISE: An accelerating diesel truck emits 114 dB and even 100 dB while idling. Community and Environmental Defense Services recommends a minimum separation of 300 feet between homes and late-night/all-night stores.
PROPERTY DEVALUATION: A convenience store or gas station WILL lower the value of nearby homes. One of the most plausible effects is on mortgages. Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insurance is not EVEN available for properties located within 300 feet of tanks capable of storing 1,000 gallons or more of gasoline or other flammable-explosive materials. Most gas station storage tanks have a capacity far in excess of 1,000 gallons.
A Community Health Perspective in CA recommends a minimum 300-foot separation distance between gas stations and "sensitive land uses such as residences, schools, daycare centers, playgrounds, or medical facilities." The State of California is widely recognized as having some of the most effective air pollution control requirements in the nation.
BLIGHTING: Every community has boarded up stores and even entire blocks or shopping centers that have been abandoned. These lost commercial opportunities are frequently poorly maintained, making them unattractive and unpleasant neighbors. This is known as blight. One of the causes of blight is excessive competition. We have a number of local gas stations in the area and do not need any more.
In light of the above, the home and business owners near and adjacent to the proposed gas station site strongly feel the plan to develop the property as such should be discontinued.