Some Oppose Planned Darien, IL, Auto Body Shop

Some Oppose Planned Darien, IL, Auto Body Shop

A former planning and zoning commissioner said an auto body shop would not fit into the area's character.

Some are against a proposed auto body shop replacing the closed CVS Pharmacy at a key Darien, IL, intersection.

One of the opponents is a former city planning and zoning commissioner.

Gerber Collision & Glass wants to set up shop at 8325 Lemont Road, southeast of Lemont Road and 83rd Street.

The matter is set to go before the city's Planning and Zoning Commission at Oct. 4 at City Hall.

According to the company's application, the conversion will involve minimal site work and no proposed changes to the building's footprint.

The most notable change is a 6-foot wall to enclose an existing paved area on the west side between Lemont Road and the building, the application said.

This will hide cars dropped off for repairs from the public, the company said.

Additionally, Gerber said its renovation would include two overhead doors on the west side of the building and one on the north side.

In an email in September to the city, Brian Liedtke, a former Darien planning and zoning commissioner, said an auto body shop would not fit into the area's character.

Liedtke, a Center Cass School District 66 board member, said he found out about the proposed shop from a Patch story.

"If this (story) is true, I find it extremely disappointing that after years of discussions around economic development and future land use planning, with a unanimous agreement on attracting mixed use developments, Darien would take one of the last, prime corners in their city boundaries and allow an auto body shop, which does not match the character of the area," Liedtke said.

Nearby businesses include The Perfect Swing, the Midwest Badminton Club, Skeleton Key Brewery and Goddard School, he said.

A brewery, pub or a business involving sports, entertainment or recreation would be a "fantastic" addition to the area, Liedtke said.

"I am encouraging you to scrutinize this proposal and vote to allow the highest and best use for this property, especially one that better fits the character of this area," he said.

Last November, Liedtke resigned from both the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Economic Development Committee, expressing his differences with the city.

Also opposed to the proposed auto body shop is resident Kristine Collins.

"It does nothing to enhance our neighborhood or drive up our home values," Collins said in an email to the city. "This is exactly why the city needs to hire a person who will look for good viable businesses to fill empty space."

In April 2022, the local CVS closed, along with nearly 900 across the country.

The building was constructed 23 years ago.

We thank Patch for reprint permission.

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