Despite opposition, gas station plan moves forward in Wheeling


Opponents are protesting a plan to build a Gas N Wash station and other businesses at Hintz and Old Buffalo Grove roads in Wheeling. The proposal won the recommendation of the village’s plan commission Wednesday night.
Courtesy of Wheeling

After hours of discussion that included comments from critics, Wheeling’s plan commission on Wednesday night voted to recommend approval of plans for a gas station and other businesses on the village’s west side.

But support for the proposed Gas N Wash operation on the northeast corner of Hintz and Old Buffalo Grove roads wasn’t unanimous. Two of the commission’s seven members — Steven Kasper and Rick Hyken — voted against three separate aspects of the proposal. Kasper cast the lone “no” vote on a fourth element of the plan.

In addition to the gas station, a convenience store offering video gambling, a liquor store, a car wash and at least one fast-food restaurant are planned.

The roughly 4-acre property is mostly vacant. A shopping center there was demolished in 2022, and a shuttered service station that’s on a separate, adjacent parcel would meet the same fate.

The site adjoins the Mallard Lake Apartments and is across Old Buffalo Grove Road from the Brook Run apartment and townhouse complex in Arlington Heights. Single-family homes are across Hintz Road to the south.

 
A Gas N Wash and other businesses are planned for the northwest corner of Hintz and Old Buffalo Grove roads in Wheeling, shown here. The proposal won the recommendation of the village’s plan commission Wednesday night.
Joe Lewnard/jlewnard@dailyherald.com, May 2024

Opponents have expressed fears about traffic, pollution, noise, crime and other issues. The negative financial impacts of gambling were of particular concern Wednesday night to Arlington Heights resident Burton Litwin.

“This is a casino camouflaged as a gas station,” Litwin said. “I know it’s going to wreck people.”

Chris Kalischefski, an architect working on the project, rose to defend the plan. Among other points, he said Gas N Wash facilities are environmentally safer than gas stations once were. He also said Gas N Wash facilities haven’t led to more crime.

Alex Kugar, the vice president of finance for Gas N Wash, said the company wants to partner with the communities in which it operates. As a compromise, he said the diesel pumps at the station would be inoperable between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.

In addition to recommending preliminary approval of the overall plan for the development, the plan commission recommended approval of special use permits for a car wash and a liquor store there. It also recommended approval of a request to consolidate the two parcels into a single lot.

The village board, which has final say over the proposal, likely will discuss the Gas N Wash plan July 1, Village Manager Jon Sfondilis said in an email Thursday.

 
Some people living near the intersection of Hintz and Old Buffalo Grove roads in Wheeling oppose a plan to build a gas station and other businesses there.
Joe Lewnard/jlewnard@dailyherald.com, May 2024

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