CR's decision on auto repair shop still idling

  • Written by Bob Rakow

Chicago Ridge trustees on Tuesday temporarily put the brakes on plans for an auto repair shop at 103rd Street and Ridgeland Avenue.


For the second time in two weeks, trustees delayed a decision on a special-use permit for the property, which has been for sale for five years.


Alsip mechanic Walter Lindish has proposed moving his shop to the shuttered garage located at 10303 S. Ridgeland Ave. adjacent to Penny Lane School.


Lindish provided trustees with an outline of his plans to improve the property, including exterior paint, landscaping, an awning, improved lighting, privacy fencing and the conversion of a garage door into a window.


Lindish said he would complete the improvements over two years.


But the plans were not sufficient for some trustees, including Mike Davies, who said he asked at the previous board meeting that a detailed proposal be given to trustees ahead of the meeting.


“I’m not prepared to act today,” Davies said. “It’s not supposed to be a list. It’s supposed to be a timetable. I told him specifically what I wanted to see. [The delay] is not this board’s fault.”


A detailed plan with completion dates is important as it prevents a business owner from making promises to the village but never following through, Davies said.


Davies and Trustees Dan Badon and Jack Lind have voiced support for the plan, which was unanimously approved by the planning and zoning commission.


But Tokar again expressed his reservations about the proposal.


“I appreciate everything that you’ve done,” Tokar said. “I’m sure you run a very good business. I’m just not convinced at all that this is the best location.”


The mayor added that the village’s comprehensive plan calls for auto shops and similar businesses to be located in the industrial park, while Ridgeland Avenue is reserved for commercial business.


A coffee shop or convenience store likely would be a better use of the property, he said.


Lindish has said the Chicago Ridge shop is ideally located and offers everything his business needs, including a secure storage lot. He added wants his business to reap the benefits of being located on a busy street.


George Ball, the owner of the property, told trustees that the village has made it difficult for him to sell the property.


“I could probably have sold this place 10 times in the past five years,” said Ball, adding that the village has rejected other proposed uses for the property.


Tokar rejected that notion, saying no previous plans for the property have come before the board in the past five years.