Judge rules in favor of Protect Glen Ellyn and denies gas station at historic Five-Corners - March 15, 2019
GLEN ELLYN, Il. – DuPage County Circuit Court Judge Wheaton ruled today in favor of residents in their long fight to prevent the development of a 59,000 square foot, 12-pump gas station and 4,200 square foot convenience store planned at the historic Stacy’s Corners location at 825 N. Main Street, Glen Ellyn.
Protect Glen Ellyn, Inc. filed a lawsuit against the Village of Glen Ellyn and True North Energy LLC, an Ohio based company, on the grounds that the Village of Glen Ellyn arbitrarily and capriciously approved an ordinance granting a special use permit for a gas station. In finding for the residents, Judge Wheaton found, among other things, that “there was no evidence whatsoever presented to the Village Board [at the time of granting the special use permit] on the effect of the proposed use on nearby property values. At trial, there was no credible evidence on the economic effect of the proposed use. Neither before the Village Board nor at trial was there any evidence whatsoever on the effect of the proposed use on the 600 students who attend Forest Glen Elementary School, a mere 300 feet from the property. Surely the health and safety of 600 children is worthy of at least a cursory consideration by the Village Board.”
The Court therefore “finds, declares and orders that the decision of the Village Board granting [the special use permit and related ordinances] was arbitrary, capricious and against the manifest weight of the evidence” and “enjoins the Village from enforcing the ordinances at issue.” One of the attorneys for Protect Glen Ellyn, David Hartsell stated, “This is an outstanding result. Protect Glen Ellyn is pleased with the decision and feels that justice has prevailed for the residents, and the children at the Montessori Academy and Forest Glen School.”
The proposed development generated significant opposition from the community. Embroiled pleas by dozens of residents who appeared at several Village meetings addressed a variety of concerns most notably the health and safety of children at Forest Glen Elementary School and the Montessori Academy of Glen Ellyn. In support of Protect Glen Ellyn were the Forest Glen Parent Teachers Association (PTA), over 1,200 residents who signed a petition, and a unanimous rejection by the Village Plan Commission citing a complete disregard for its own Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code.
Protect Glen Ellyn President Megan Clifford stated, “This case called into question the decision-making and priorities of our elected leaders. We are thrilled with the outcome of the case and hope it reminds our Village leaders and staff to abide by their own zoning law, make decisions based on facts, and listen to the residents they serve. In that regard, we look forward to working with the new Board to find an appropriate use for this property.”
The trial ran February 14 through February 19, 2019, at the DuPage County Courthouse with Judge Wheaton presiding over three full days of testimony from residents Megan Clifford and Diana Martinez, Village Trustee Mark Senak, and expert appraiser John Pogacnik. Testifying for Glen Ellyn were Village Planner Staci Springer and expert witness P. Barton DeLacy, and for True North was Chief Operating Officer, Ryan Howard. The testimony revealed many new facts in the case, including that the Village received an alternative proposal for a kid-friendly swim school development at the same offer price as True North’s gas station.
A vocal supporter of Protect Glen Ellyn and plaintiff in the case, Diana Martinez stated, “We are so grateful for the outpouring of support from residents all over Glen Ellyn through this two-year long process. I hope that all the engagement and conversations can continue and that together we can work with the Village to support our community and move in a positive direction.”
Plaintiffs and Protect Glen Ellyn were represented by David Hartsell and Susan Groh of McGuireWoods LLP, and Dan Shapiro of Shapiro & Associates Law.
With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed. Consequently, he who molds public sentiment, goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions.
- Abraham Lincoln