SHOREWOOD – Shorewood village officials approved a controversial gas station project, much to the dismay of dozens of residents who opposed it.
For more than an hour at Tuesday’s Village Board meeting, residents either criticized, questioned or supported the proposed Lenny’s Gas N Wash on the southwestern corner of River Road and Route 52.
In a 6-1 vote, the Village Board approved the project, with Trustee Stevan Brockman casting the dissenting vote. Mayor Rick Chapman threw in his support of the project as well.
Lona Jakaitis, who brought a petition bearing more than 900 signatures opposed to the project was disappointed by the board’s decision.
“I’m very disappointed our elected officials did not take into consideration what the residents want,” Jakaitis said after the vote.
The board room was packed enough that Chapman encouraged the crowd standing in the back of the room and lining up against the walls to view the meeting on TV monitors outside. But not many of them left.
Inside the room, emotions ran hot as residents questioned if village trustees should approve development of a gas station they said could cause increased truck traffic, lower property values, invite video gambling and reduce safety, among other factors.
Chapman said the project will not have diesel fuel islands. Roadway sizes near the gas station would be reduced. He said the village does not allow video gambling and no one in the village is allowed to sell alcohol 24 hours a day.
Many residents were dissatisfied by village officials, response to their question while one shouted at those in support of the gas station for interrupting her during public comment. Chapman smacked his gavel several times throughout the meeting as residents shouted comments or questions.
Shorewood resident Kent King said the gas station may not have diesel fuel islands and other aspects residents opposed in the initial plans but those could come later anyway.
“We’re not your children, you work for us,” Kent said to Chapman.
Some residents welcomed the project. One resident, Donna Anderson, said she’s lived in Shorewood since the 1960s and she thought while the opponents had valid points, they were “a little bit exaggerated.”
Another resident, Jeremy Hudek said he believed it would increase the taxes the village needs to construct and maintain road infrastructure in the village.
“I live on a dead end. … if you ever been on my road, trust me, it’s falling apart,” Hudek said. “I believe we need this gas station to fix our roads in the village.”
Village officials were frustrated by the angry responses from residents.
Chapman said the accusations that the village doesn’t care about residents “gets to me,” and Trustee Dan Anderson, who supported the project, said the threats he’s received were not acceptable.
“Those people who did that should be ashamed of themselves,” Anderson said.
Trustee Barbara “Cookie” Kirkland, another supporter, said gas-station-project talks disrupted her life as much as the lives of residents. She said she spoke to everyone she met on the project and she was sure “my husband was sick of me talking about it wherever I went.”
Trustee Edmund Murphy said the village cannot pick winners and losers among developers who propose projects. He said if the gas station is not effective, “the community will vote on that after it is approved.”