By Bob Balgemann


A little more than one year ago the village board approved an ordinance authorizing sale of a 1.4-acre parcel owned by the village, in front of Lowe’s Home Improvement Center, to Freddy’s Land LLC.

Three months later, in June 2019, the village issued a building permit to authorize construction of the Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers restaurant on that property, located at 9901 Orlando Ave.

The property was conveyed to Freddy’s Land July 18, 2019, with the real estate contract for purchase requiring that construction of the restaurant begin by May 1, 2020, and be open no later than Jan. 1, 2021.

May 1 has come and gone with no construction being started at that location.

What happened? An ordinance allowing a delay in the beginning of the project explained, in part:

“…as a result of the global pandemic caused by the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, the purchaser has requested an additional six months to complete construction of the restaurant…

“…the village recognizes the need to provide the purchaser with additional time to construct the restaurant and commence business operations…”

Now, Ordinance 18-20 states the purchaser shall complete construction of the restaurant and be open by July 1, 2021.

Second and final reading of the ordinance was expected at the May 18 village board meeting, as part of the consent agenda. First reading came May 4 and was approved in a 7-0 vote.

Used car lot

Plans for a used car lot at 1023 Harlem Road – on the south side of Harlem between Elm Avenue and Scott Lane – are moving forward carrying three recommendations for approval of a needed special use permit.

Planning and Zoning Specialist Carrie Houston told the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) at its April 27 meeting that the property will have spaces for 22 cars for sale and a sales office. There is an existing auto repair and plenty of parking for customers and employees.

In this area of Harlem Road there already is an assortment of uses, she reported, such residences, a restaurant, a convenience store, and more. “While adding this car lot would not change the character of the area, it could potentially amplify the (traffic) congestion along the area,” she said. “There is already a car lot in the same block, just to the east.”

Staff recommended approval of the request, as did P&Z, in a 5-0 vote, and the Planning and Economic Development (PED) Committee, in a unanimous voice vote, at its May 4 meeting. PED is one of three standing committees of the village board, which hears and makes recommendations on a variety of matters.

Those recommendations came with 11 conditions, such as landscaping, screening from residential properties, where cars may be parked, no excessive signage or balloons, no storage of inoperable cars for more than one week, when and how cars can be delivered and how lighting cannot be directed toward homes.

Also, staff wanted improvements that would make the property accessible in accordance with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements

Community Development Director James Richter II also was at the P&Z meeting and he asked Joseph Ortiz, the applicant, if he understood all of the conditions and what was expected of him.

Ortiz answered that he did, but was not sure how long it would take him to take care of those conditions.

Specialist Houston said most of the required improvements would have to be done before the business could open. She said the occupancy permit application already had been submitted. After the village conducts inspections, staff will specify what if anything needs to be done before sales are allowed to begin.

The village board was expected to consider Ordinance 14-20, granting the special use permit, at its May 18 meeting.


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