Residents, trustees offer more comments on New Lenox Lenny’s Gas N Wash proposal

The New Lenox Village Board did not take action on the Lenny’s Gas Station proposal at Monday’s meeting.

It is likely being tabled until the Feb. 8 board meeting.

Resident concerns

Katie Chamberlain, a resident in the neighborhood at the proposed site opened the public hearing.

Chamberlain, whose husband, Nathan Chamberlain, also spoke, said that while this may not be “the most important vote in your lives, probably won’t be the most important vote in the developer’s life, but it might be the most important village board vote in my life, the live’s of my children and the lives of the residents that live in the 14 homes in the Walona/Charlotte Neighborhood.”

She also noted that Walona Avenue is the only access to their homes and said she is worried about possible accidents that the added traffic may cause, especially trying to turn left onto Route 30.

Nathan Chamberlain added that the proposed gas station is too large for the property and does not fit.

The next speaker, Adam Fifer, thanked the board for listening to them.

“I don’t feel like we’re being dismissed,” he said.

However, he also echoed Katie Chamberlain’s comments.

“We’re going to take this quiet little neighborhood. I hang out at my buddy Colby’s (McKay, another resident) with our kids and have a fire and he’s right there behind the car wash,” Fifer said. “It’s glorious (now). This is destroying a little neighborhood that is left of New Lenox.”

McKay said his 7-year-old son asked him if this gas station is going to go in and if he is going to hear it from his bedroom.

“There’s not going to be any more privacy,” McKay said

“I have been sick to my stomach all day waiting for this meeting,” he said ... It hurts.”

Board comments

Trustee Dave Smith said this has been one of the hardest decisions he has had to make as a member of the board. His comments appeared more against the proposal than for it.

“I looked at it, I thought about it and dreamt about it,” he said. “I need to look at how it’s going to fit for the entire village and how it’s going to impact everybody and everything. I don’t think it fits. I think it’s just going to be too big.”

Doug Finnegan also spoke and appeared against the proposal.

“The sheer size of this project in a different location, but in this location is not a good fit,” he said.

Trustees Smith, Jasen Howard, Annette Bowden and Mayor Tim Baldermann all made comments about there is not guarantee of what could come next if the gas station gets voted down. They all said the traffic could be worse or the building could look worse, and that they can’t keep coming back and saying “no” to business petitioners.

Petitioner comments

“We understand where the neighbors are coming from, we understand where the trustees are coming from, petitioner Lyman Tieman said. “We think we have addressed all of the major issues including traffic, but there seem to be some concerns about traffic at the intersection.

Tieman said he thinks that more can be done to make it better for them and the neighbors.

Baldermann said that he has the right to have that done, but told him to proceed at his own risk because it may not change the mind’s of the trustees.

Sean Hastings

Sean is a reporter for The Herald-News in Joliet covering the Village of New Lenox. He covers the local school districts, village board, and other community news and feature stories. He joined the staff in September 2020.