It looks like the Naperville city council will be approving another a used car ‘lot’. The surprise is that, if approved, it will be located at a car wash on 75th St. just west of Naper Boulevard. The city, by design, has been able to ‘compartmentalize’ car dealerships around the intersection of Aurora and Ogden avenues; a one-stop shopping area for convenience and aesthetics.
So why would the city council want to deviate from this ‘working plan’ to throw in a used car lot on the other side of town, especially when city-staff planning operations manager, Allison Laff, deemed this location as inappropriate for selling used cars.
Occasionally, I’ve had my car washed there, though you can’t access it heading east bound, and when exiting, vehicles can only go westbound. Each time a new owner comes in, he or she thinks they can do what previous owners couldn’t do, which is to maintain a sustainable and profitable business. It hasn’t happened yet.
While getting my car washed, shortly after new ownership bought the business, I mentioned that to one of the owners, and he was just as optimistic as previous owners. He also said that their goal was to sell high-end used cars from that location. Knowing he’d have to get approval from the council, he made it sound like it wouldn’t be an issue. I was surprised by his confidence or naivety about ‘bulldozing’ the Naperville city council. What you can do in other suburbs, you can’t necessarily do in Naperville, which is more selective.
The lawyer for the owners of the car wash made a compelling presentation to the council. Additionally, the president of the Hobson Oaks Home Owners Association, which is comprised of a group of 60 town-homes adjacent to the car wash, spoke in support of the venture. I was a board member of this association when the board first formed in 1988, and the car wash was there before the town-homes. Our thought was that sooner or later the car wash would ‘go away’ for lack of sustainability. Looks like we were wrong, in that we didn’t anticipate an unending line of new optimistic owners, and especially the addition of a used cars for sale.
What is intriguing, is how could the new ownership of the car wash be so assured they could get the City of Naperville’s blessing? Even McDonald’s couldn’t get the city to sign-off on the old Citgo location at Washington and Hillside.
The council voted 8 to 1 on drawing up the ordinance to allow the sales of used cars at this location. The one vote in opposition was councilman Joe McElroy. I’m guessing Joe won’t be getting a discount, if he’s looking for an upscale used vehicle while getting his car washed.
Funny, Joe McElroy testified at a hearing in Lisle as an “expert witness” for a developer who wanted a text amendment to change the zoning to allow a use that did not exist at all in a zoning district. One developer, one site, one building. The proposed new was previously specifically excluded as a prohibited use in the district. He was all in favor of it. If you pay the man, he will say and vote however you want him to.
That car wash has gone through a lot of struggle being located at a tough spot. Especially the long road construction which killed business. The owner of the property has been there for 10 years I guess. Car sales makes sense for the owner and good for council members understanding true hardship and helping the business out.
I actually live by the property and I don’t find anything wrong with the carwash expanding the business with selling a few cars. My husband takes the car there for washes….the place is clean and looks great- they changed machines and maintain the property well. The kids that work there are nice and respectful too. I rather have this business than something else that would bring a negative crowd to our neighborhood. My family owns a small business and I think it’s great that this place, and the owner is being supported instead of letting it fail. Good for the council for understanding that the owners wants to continue to do business in Naperville instead of leaving and taking the business to another township. I think a vacant property on 75th and Naper would be far worse “aesthetically”. I don’t think it’s a big deal but it’s just my opinion.