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Algonquin trustees won't budge on village code for east side businesses

LED lights line the windows March 6 at Chubby's Gyros in Algonquin. The restaurant is fighting an ordinance that bans the lights.
LED lights line the windows March 6 at Chubby's Gyros in Algonquin. The restaurant is fighting an ordinance that bans the lights.

ALGONQUIN – Algonquin trustees said they do not want to look into changing any village codes for businesses on the east side.

At a Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday, Village President John Schmitt responded to requests from the owner’s of Chubby’s Gyros, 1450 E. Algonquin Road, to change a code banning LED lights. Connie and George Pagones installed LED lighting around the restaurant’s windows to “show there is still life on the east side.”

The village said the lighting is against its code, and it asked the business to remove the lights.

Schmitt asked trustees to voice their opinions at the meeting about whether they’d like to change the code, and all said no.

Trustees cited a 2015 Gruen Gruen + Associates study that said the east side does not have a large enough population to support the businesses on the east side.

Schmitt said the village has areas for subdivision growth, such as behind the Jewel-Osco, and staff need to work with developers to develop more rooftops.

“There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t get a complaint from someone about the code, like asking for bigger sidewalks or a stop sign near their house,” Schmitt said. “The code makes sure we are consistent and do a good job. If we grant Chubby’s, we have to grant everybody.”

Trustee Janis Jasper agreed to not change the code, but she said she wants to engage in a broader discussion about how to help businesses.

“What Chubby’s is trying to do with the lighting is just to bring some life back to that one area, because now the shopping mall is virtually empty,” Jasper said. “The amount of businesses and square footage we have can’t be supported with the amount of population. People need to know that, and we need to take it into consideration when we set up regulations for what we allow businesses to do.”

Schmitt cited past development, such as the Dunkin’ Donuts, Thortons, Sushi King, Marco’s Pizza, Goodwill and a newly rehabbed McDonald’s on the east side.

“It’s never going to be Randall Road. We don’t have the population [of] there, nor do we want it to be that,” Schmitt said. “It’s more of a quaint, small area, but we want to keep the quality and keep it vibrant.”

The new owners of Algonquin Town Center, which formerly housed Butera Market, plan to invest more than
$5 million
into improvements to the strip center behind Chubby’s. The owners are planning for new landscaping, lighting and a parking lot.

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