Building a suburban truck stop in Carol Stream

Many truck stops line American highways yet few are located several miles away from the highway in a suburban community on the former site of a bowling alley:

Though it looks like a heavy construction zone, it could take weeks before developers begin building what some neighbors worry will be a noisy truck strop on Gary and North avenues in Carol Stream…

“It’s kind of a redevelopment of Carol Stream going on here,” Assistant Village Engineer Bill Cleveland said…

In July, the village board approved Pilot plans over the complaints of retirees in the upscale Windsor Park community. The $9 million project will build a sprawling gas station for semitrailer trucks and passenger cars, as well as a 9,000-square-foot building that will house a convenience store and three “fast casual” restaurants — all open round-the-clock.

After the village gives the go-ahead, developers hope to break ground in “days or weeks,” a Pilot representative said Tuesday. Construction could take three months.

North Avenue is a busy road yet the location is at least four miles from the nearest highway – I-355 – which doesn’t handle the same level of truck traffic as other major Chicago highways. On the other hand, Carol Stream has a number of industrial parks and warehouses. This was intentional on the part of founder Jay Stream who had his start building houses in Wheaton and later turned to grander plans for a new suburban community. Stream wanted to have a broader tax base so he left plenty of land for industrial parks. The zoning map of Carol Stream shows a broad stretch of industrial uses – marked in purple – as well as commercial properties along major roads and a range of housing options including apartments and cul-de-sac single-family home neighborhoods.

Thus, there may just be a business opportunity for a suburban truck stop in this particular location. Two remaining thoughts:

  1. I have a hard time imagining such plans could be made in wealthier suburbs. Could Pilot find support in a community like Elmhurst or Naperville which could provide a location much closer to a highway?
  2. I wonder if there will be any particular requests from Carol Stream regarding the design of the facility. Seeing a truck stop in this location could be jarring, even with North Avenue lined with numerous commercial uses in both directions. I wouldn’t be surprised if the owners were asked to limit signs and lights as well as provide some barriers between this location and nearby uses.

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