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Plan Commission: Tinley McDonald’s may see upgrades, mental health site discussed

The Tinley Park McDonald’s may have a new look as early as March 2019.

Upgrade and improvement plans were presented to the Village and reviewed at a Jan. 4 Plan Commission meeting for the fast food restaurant located off Harlem Avenue and 159th Street.

The petitioner, Jim Olguin, sought the panel’s recommendation of approval concerning a special use permit for a substantial deviation from the Park Center Plaza planned unit development. The proposal includes a site plan for the drive-thru, parking lot modifications and other related site improvements for the business at 15290 Harlem Ave. The goal is to modernize the restaurant, as well as promote efficiency and timely service.

“We think we’re really enhancing the overall site, the overall building in just about every way,” Olguin said.

The proposal includes plans to install larger menu boards, five inches taller than the Village code of seven feet, allow a total wall signage of five instead 11 and reduce the number of parking spaces. Plans also include adding a second drive-thru lane, constructing crosswalks, improving landscaping and reconfiguring the circulation of the traffic flow.

Originally opened in 1988, this location was approved by the Village in 1987. The restaurant was granted a substantial deviation from the Park Center Plaza planned unit development in 1995 to allow the addition of a two-story play place and another to subdivide the property from the rest of the shopping center in 2009.

McDonald’s neighbors in Park Center Plaza include Portillo’s, Aldi, Chuck E. Cheese, Chipotle and Charter Fitness. The building in question could see upgrades, just as the McDonald’s located at 17171 Harlem Ave. will as plans for the latter were approved in April.

Commissioner Peter Kroner questioned why the petitioner’s proposal for the site in question differs from the previously approved project near Harlem Avenue and 171st Street.

“Obviously, they don’t necessarily want to make them identical, and this is still one of the foremost prototypes that McDonalds has,” Olguin said. “They wanted to have a slight differentiation between them, but in terms of the efficiency of the drive-thru, the layout, that’s still incorporated into this particular building.”

Village staff went into the meeting having a first preference for landscaping and discouraged the use of loose rock mulch in the outer landscape bed near the drive-thru, similar to what they’d suggested for a proposed island at the McDonald’s near 171st Street.

Andrew Uttan, a design engineer for V3 Companies, spoke on behalf of the petitioner and contended that landscaping would not work well this time around.

“This is mostly a concern for delivery trucks and their radius,” he said. “Any customers and standard cars shouldn’t have any issue with that. With it being a little tighter [in the parking lot,] from our analysis the entire back end of the semi truck would be coming over pretty much that entire [landscape bed.]”

Chairman Ken Shaw questioned the petitioner’s comfort in requesting a reduction of 10 parking spaces from the Village’s required code of 64.

“In terms of parking, we did not do a specific study for the site, but just from experience at other locations, just so much of the business comes through the drive-thru,” Olguin said. “Even in a situation where there’s a play place, having parking spaces in the 50s is very comfortable. We’re comfortable with parking spaces in the 40s.”

A public hearing for the project is slated for 7 p.m. Jan. 18 at Village Hall.

Moving forward, the Plan Commission wants to firm up the petitioner’s plan for the number of wall signs and the height of the menu boards, both of which will require variations from Village codes. The panel also wants to see revisions to the landscape plan and elevations showing wall signs.

The Plan Commission came to a consensus recommending the approval of the upgrades. Commissioner Garrett Gray abstained from deliberating and voting in accordance with the Village’s code of ethics. Commissioners Chuck Augustyniak, John Curran, Lucas Engler and Eduardo Mani were absent.

Former mental health center site discussed

Members of Tinley Park’s Plan Commission took time to voice concerns for the Village’s efforts to seek request for qualifications to redevelop the former mental health center site.

The Village of Tinley Park issued its request for qualifications Dec. 15, requiring written intent to submit a proposal by Dec. 22

“I personally have a lot of concerns about the timeline for the RFQ,” Shaw said. “I went back through it again myself, and the more I look at it, it’s impractical. I sincerely hope that the Village Board considers pushing [the deadline] out further.”

The deadline for developers looking to submit a request for qualifications is currently Jan. 19.

One of the items required of the request for qualifications process is market research, Shaw said.

“With the timing with the holidays—Christmas and New Years—I calculate about 22 working days for a firm to submit questions in writing and then 27 working days to submit final proposals,” Shaw said. “I don’t know how the board ever approved this.”

Kroner agreed and went on to say that he doesn’t know how a responsible developer could submit a proposal without having some firm numbers for what it will cost them to take on the project, including information on what the site’s cleanup costs are.

“I sincerely hope the board takes another look at this,” Shaw said.

If, for example, a proposal is submitted with a cost of $50 million, the overruns could be larger than what the Village and a developer can handle.

Kroner echoed Shaw’s sentiment.

“We have some dire concerns, and let’s pull this back and rethink this thing,” he said. “First, let’s get a cost to find out what is going on, so we can give it to the developer and then let them come in with a responsible plan that incorporates the cost.”

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