Proposed Brunswick Zone doesn't bowl over all

By DAVID FITZGERALD dfitzgerald@nwherald.com

ALGONQUIN - The Algonquin Zoning and Planning Commission on Monday night sent on plans for three new buildings at the Galleria commercial development on Randall Road. An outlot featuring a Potbelly's sandwich shop, an anchor building featuring a Best Buy, and a 60,000-square-foot entertainment complex could join the two furniture stores already being built in the Galleria.

But about 15 residents came to protest the entertainment complex, saying it is neither the high-end retail nor the movie theater that they were told would fill the site.

The complex, Brunswick Zone XL, would abut residential areas just east of the Galleria. It would contain bowling, a snack bar, a billiards lounge, party rooms, laser tag, an arcade and bumper cars.

The residents complained that the entertainment complex would be open later than regular stores, would serve alcohol, and be noisier than a box store.

Neighbor Nick Leppert said he did not like the idea of a youth hangout being built 60 feet from his property line.

"I'm not against shopping," Leppert said. "But kids aren't going to be hanging around at Ethan Allen."

Mike Long, Brunswick's vice president of service and construction, said the complex would be aimed at families, but also would serve alcohol in certain areas and be open until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. If approved, Brunswick would have to provide security guards.

But that wasn't enough for Carol Toomey, who worries about noise and crime when the complex would close late on the weekends.

"We knew that land was commercial when we moved in, but we thought our elected officials would balance the residential and commercial interests," Toomey said.

The Brunswick vote split the commissioners. Commissioners Margaret Auger, Michael Sabatine and Patricia Szpekowski voted not to recommend the Village Board to approve Brunswick Zone. Paul Sturznickle, Debby Sosine and Richard Hoferle voted do recommend. Commissioner Andrew Neuhalfen was not in attendance.

The other two buildings passed unanimously with no complaints from residents.

The Algonquin Village Board must approve the building plans before construction may begin.

The commission approved a preliminary site plan for the development in 2004. Each individual building, however, is required to come to the commission before final approval.

Ethan Allen and Dania, both furniture stores, are already under construction.

The Galleria eventually will encompass about 1 million square feet of retail space and restaurants as well as more than 200 homes.

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