East Dundee village trustees hope to override Lynam’s veto of Elgin Mall project

Mall features dozens of independent Latino-owned shops

Members of the East Dundee planning, zoning and historic commission recommended approval for a special-use permit and zoning that would allow the Elgin Mall to move into a shuttered Dominick's store in East Dundee. East Dundee Village President Jeff Lynam, however, says the proposal would not enhance the village's appeal.

Elgin Mall owners will have to wait a little longer to get the approval they need to relocate to East Dundee.

Although village trustees in February voted 4-1 to approve zoning and a special-use permit for the mall, East Dundee Village President Jeff Lynam on Monday took the unusual step of vetoing those approvals.

Village trustees, however, anticipate overriding Lynam’s veto.

The Elgin Mall, which features dozens of independent Latino-owned shops, is a popular weekend destination that attracts shoppers from throughout the region looking for traditional religious items, Western wear, boots, furniture and other items.

Last year, vendors learned the building owner was ending the lease. Vendors formed a new ownership group and focused on a shuttered Dominick’s store in East Dundee for their new home.

“I don’t think that this is a business model that is going to be a benefit to the residents,” Lynam said Tuesday. “I am looking out for what’s in the best interest of the town.”

Lynam has been a staunch opponent to the project, arguing the village should hold out for another grocery store in the River Valley Mall at the northeast corner of routes 25 and 72. In the past, Lynam also has pointed to the layout of the current Elgin Mall, with cloth partitions between stores and open storefronts, and concerns about the potential for an increase in police calls as reasons for his opposition.

On Monday, Lynam raised concerns over what he described as a “vagueness” in village code as it relates to the type of items that could be sold in an indoor mall. In the past, he has asked questions if vendors would be allowed to sell used items. Elgin Mall owners have stated all the vendors sell new items.

I don’t think that this is a business model that is going to be a benefit to the residents. I am looking out for what’s in the best interest of the town.

—  East Dundee Village President Jeff Lynam

Lynam on Monday also raised concerns about parking, noting the strip mall falls 67 parking spaces short of what the village’s ordinance requires.

But the village’s planning and zoning commission, which recommended approval of the plan, did not take issue with the parking. Trustees also questioned if parking would even be an issue, noting that the same shopping center once had a grocery store and other active storefronts.

Owners of the Elgin Mall in February said several of the mall vendors ride together to work or use Uber or public transportation. Mall owners also said they have not had an issue with parking at their current location.

Village Trustee Scott Kunze on Tuesday noted that even if parking were to become an issue, the strip mall is privately owned and the property owner, not the village, would have to find a way to deal with parking at that point.

Kunze and other trustees Tuesday expressed continued support for the mall. Trustees would need five votes to override Lynam’s veto.

Trustee Kathleen Mahony, who was not at the February meeting when the mall was initially approved, said she plans to vote in favor of the mall. Trustee Rich Treiber, who cast the lone dissenting vote in February, said he remains opposed to project.

Village Administrator Erika Storlie said a vote to override the veto could come at the March 20 village board meeting.

Owners of the Elgin Mall or the River Valley Mall could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Attorneys for the Elgin Mall and the River Valley Mall also could not be reached for comment.