News

Residents again try to stop Gas N Wash

The Joliet City Council votes Tuesday on gas station for far West Side

The latest Len McEnery gas station faces opposition before a Joliet City Council vote on Tuesday that could provide the OK needed to build.

McEnery wants to build a Gas N Wash at the northeast corner of Caton Farm and Ridge roads. It would be the fifth gas station for McEnery in Joliet.

He has a sixth also awaiting council approval Tuesday at Hollywood Road and Route 6, which no one has spoken against.

But Jeanine Mosher, who would live behind the station on Caton Farm, urged council members to vote against it during a Monday workshop meeting.

“I would ask you all to think about whether you would feel safe and secure with this huge development in your backyard,” Mosher said.

She presented a petition with about 30 signatures of people opposed to the gas station.

Mosher was among three neighbors who spoke last month to the Joliet Zoning Board of Appeals, which split in a 3-3 vote over the special-use permit needed to build the gas station. That means the permit application goes to the council without a recommendation from the zoning board.

The neighbors point out the gas station with car wash will be open all day and all night every day of the year, which raises the prospect of non-stop noise, fumes and lights.

The Gas N Wash would include 14 pumps for cars and three lanes for semitrailers. It would have packaged liquor sales and drive-up food service. There would be two retail buildings with 74 parking spaces on nearly 8 acres.

McEnery told the council he has 20 gas stations.

“We’re in a number of neighborhoods next to residential,” McEnery said. “We’re presented as this monster coming in, and it’s just not like that. These places are quiet. They’re clean. They’re well run. We take care of them.”

McEnery opened a Gas N Wash last year at Theodore Street and Drauden Road, another far West Side area with houses near the gas station.

He said that station is four miles away and the closest to the one he wants to build.

“It looks like a needed service in that area,” he said.

The city wants to add commercial development on the far West Side to bring more businesses to residents in what was the fastest growing area of Joliet during the building boom of the early 2000s and has room to grow.

Also at Caton Farm and Ridge is a Walgreens, Aldi and Plainfield South High School.

The gas station plan includes a 5-foot tall berm topped by an 8-foot tall fence to shield it from adjacent homes. A masonry wall has been added at the car wash exit to muffle that sound.

Mosher’s husband, Brandon, said it won’t be enough to block the view into the second story of their house.

“We’re going to have people possibly viewing into our backyard every second of every day,” he told the council.