The Elmwood Park Planning Commission Monday will discuss whether or not it recommends revising the village's land use plan to allow for more commercial development space.
Doing so could potentially clear the way for a Neighborhood Market at the corner of Lathrop and Durand Avenues.
as well as a residential parcel behind the commercial space to make way for a 40,000 square foot grocery store. The site plan pushes the building back about 100 feet, which is why they are asking for the residential land to be rezoned to commercial.
The rezone request is triggering the review and possible revision of the village's land use plan. That document is clear about where and how much commercial development will take place in Elmwood Park, which is about two acres and only where the former Kohl's sits vacant.
Laurie Pettit is a 15-year resident of the village, and she worries about the precedent that could get set if the land use plan is amended.
"If we rezone, then we set a precedent for any resident to sell their property for a business use like a gas station or an adult book store," she said.
Charlene Eisel said it's not necessarily Walmart that's causing her to oppose the project as it's been presented, it's that the retail giant wants the village to do what they want instead of the other way around.
"I'm disputing the rezone, not Walmart," she said. "Put it in the footprint of Kohl's and I've got no problem."
But other residents like Chuck Daceno vehemently oppose the addition of Walmart to the village. He lives within sight of the proposed development and is unhappy about what he says will be an increase of traffic, noise, pollution and crime.
"I live 100 yards from that spot," he said. "The board and the Plan Commission should listen to what the residents want, and we're telling you that we don't want a Walmart."
Whether or not the Planning Commission ultimately recommends revising the land use plan or not, the village still has to hold a public hearing where residents' opinions can be made part of the record. Developing a timeline for Walmart representatives - including the public hearing - will also be discussed at tonight's meeting.
The Planning Commission meeting starts at 6:30 pm at Village Hall, 3131 Taylor Avenue.