Joliet City Council again rejects Starbucks on Essington Road

Drive-thru would have run alongside preschool playground

A second attempt to bring a Starbucks to a Joliet corner has failed.

The City Council on Tuesday voted 8-1 to deny the drive-thru permit Starbucks wanted for a coffee shop at Essington Road and Thomas Hickey Drive, marking the second time in less than five months that the plan failed to get approval.

The plan faced opposition from a neighboring preschool, EduCare Learning Center that has been there for 30 years. The Starbucks drive-thru line would have run alongside the EduCare playground, although the two properties are separated by a line of trees.

“My playground runs along the entire length of this area,” EduCare co-owner Stephanie Collom told the council before its vote. “My kids play outside on a daily basis.”

Stephanie and David Collom own the EduCare preschool on Thomas Hickey Drive in Joliet. They are concerned about the impact of a Starbucks restaurant with drive-thru that would be built next door. June 7, 2023.

The Starbucks was proposed for a northeast corner at 1900 Essington Road that has been the site of a car wash.

Collom and her husband, David, also a co-owner of Educare, said they were concerned about the impact of traffic on safety and air pollution from idling cars in the drive-thru next to their playground area.

Some residents from the subdivision behind the preschool objected to the prospect of heavy traffic going in and out of the Starbucks and cars in the drive-thru line backing up onto Thomas Hickey Drive.

Objections in June led to the council tabling a vote then until Starbucks could come back with a different plan.

The plan was changed so that access off of Thomas Hickey Drive would be designed to prohibit left-turns that would take vehicles past the preschool and into the subdivision.

Starbucks will be part of a multi-tenant building that will replace the Super Wash at 1900 Essington Road in Joliet, according to plans submitted to the city. May 18, 2023.

But council member Larry Hug, who represents the area, had urged council members at a workshop meeting Monday to vote against the plan.

“It’s just a square peg in a round hole,” Hug said, saying the Starbucks would be a high-impact business for the residential area behind it.

City staff had recommended approval after determining that there was sufficient space to accommodate the drive-thru.

But the council also heard from Sean Miller, a resident from the subdivision, who said Starbucks would be bringing heavy traffic at the same time that school buses pick up children in the area.

“I think it’s unneeded traffic in the area, especially when kids are going to school,” Miller said.

Keyonna Jackson, a mother with a child at EduCare, added her concern about the Starbucks being next to the preschool.

“We’d hate to have our children somewhere where outdoor safety is compromised,” Jackson said.