Despite two aldermen trying to put the brakes on a goodwill gesture, the rest of the Palos Hills city council steered a clear path for a Webb Chevrolet dealership to come to town.
The council voted 7-2 last Thursday to grant the dealership a special-use permit for the newly purchased property located at the old Sid’s property at 11164 Southwest Highway to park vehicles before the business opens.
Aldermen Martin Kleefisch and Joan Knox (1st Ward) voted against the permit, citing a potential inconvenience to neighbors. Alderman A.J. Pasek was absent.
“All of us are anxious to see this property utilized in a healthy business way,” Kleefisch said. “However, I feel residents may want their voices heard on this matter, concerning the temporary use of the property.”
“Residents are concerned with what kind of business is going up behind their houses. They should be made aware of what is going to take place prior to it happening.”
Mayor Jerry Bennett suggested the drawing up of a agreement upon which Webb Chevy would be allowed to temporarily use the location as a special-use zoned property to store the vehicles until meeting with the Planning and Zoning Board, then begin construction and eventually open for business. City Attorney George Pappas will draw up a temporary ordinance permitting the special-use and allowing Webb to begin moving cars to the location immediately.
“Basically, all the company is asking for is to park cars there,” Bennett said, “They are a family-owned company with a good name and reputation. I think we should give them a chance.”
“I understand the aldermen’s concern,” William Hansen (3rd Ward) said. “But they already purchased the property. These are businessmen, showing long-term commitment.”
The company’s general manager, Jerry Roberts, appeared at the meeting. Webb purchased the B2, or commercially-zoned piece of property, three weeks ago, assuming it was a special-use property capable for storing cars currently unavailable for purchase, according to Roberts.
Roberts told the council the company is in an emergency situation, with the lease expiring at the end of the week at a temporary storage unit with nowhere to store the vehicles.
“The property cannot be used to store these vehicles until it is switched over to a special-use property,” Roberts said.
Roberts is planning to store 200-300 new cars at the Palos Hills location. His company also plans construction at the former Sid’s property, including replacing the existing privacy fence with a new fence and landscaping.
Roberts requested a temporary special-use permit to which Webb Chevy will pay the city of Palos Hills $1,000 a month in order to store the vehicles at the location until the construction is complete and the location opens for business.
Roberts and his lawyer, Joe Splain, requested a 12-month deadline on the temporary license; however, Roberts assured the council the dealership will be open for business at a much sooner date.
“We are hoping to even be open as soon as 150 days from now,” he said. His plan is to start moving cars immediately upon the approval of the special-use permit.
There will be no alteration to the property until he meets with the Planning and Zoning Board in three weeks to discuss construction plans to take place on the property.
The family-owned Webb Chevy holds a strong consumer base at its location, 9440 S Cicero Ave, and the company is hoping to carry on this representation in Palos Hills.
“We are here to create jobs, create property tax revenues and create sales tax revenues within the city of Palos Hills,” Roberts said.
The city will obtain one percent of all Webb Chevy’s sales tax revenues.