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Algonquin zoning commission OKs plans for controversial CarMax

Proposal gets unanimous zoning commission support

The village gave CarMax a green light Monday night, but locals wanted a big red one.

Shouts of “boo!” and “shame!” filled the village’s Planning and Zoning Commission meeting as dozens of area residents called on commissioners to deny making the area surrounding 2401 N. Huntington Drive a commercial space.

The meeting lasted hours, and attendees weren’t happy with the outcome. The matter was unanimously approved by commissioners.

“We’re trying to strike a balance between the residents that are close to it, but I think you have to look at the net overall picture and what it does for the village and the benefits it will bring the village,” Chairman James Patrician said after the meeting. “It’s not an easy decision.”

Residents expressed deep concerns the dealership will bring a multitude of problems: light pollution, noise, reckless test drivers and unattractive landscaping.

“I’m one of the closest houses to this development site,” said Justin Roach, who’s been a vocal critic. “If you were leaving that parking lot, I could tell you what color your tie was.”

CarMax isn’t backing down and company representatives said area residents will eventually come around.

Monday’s meeting devolved into applause and anger as the men and women who live near the proposed site made their voices heard. Only two people publicly supported CarMax.

Although the property is near a residential neighborhood, the nation’s largest used-car retailer believes it will house a successful satellite CarMax that would be smaller than other area CarMax dealerships.

CarMax representatives said the company will invest $11 million on the former Duralife site, and that the indoor customer service center would occupy 7,400 square feet. The company would employ 15 to 20 associates.

“Based on all of the data and demographics, we believe that the CarMax customer is in and around Algonquin. It’s going to be a really successful location for us,” said J.M. Dixon, a CarMax real estate manager.

The Village Board still will have to OK final plans at future meeting. Locals are vowing to fight on.

“It’s a sham!” said Rick Orabutt, who lives a block from the area. “Our only option is to attend board meetings and let the members know if they want to be re-elected they better vote the way the residents are expecting them to vote.”

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