Walmart is one step closer to adding 25,000 square feet to the east side of its building at 1300 Desplaines. On Monday night, the Forest Park Planning Commission unanimously recommended to the village board the passage of five zoning variations that would accommodate Walmart’s proposed plans.

Troy Paionk, a project engineer who represents Walmart, fielded questions from board members, which included concerns over the rerouting of a Pace bus stop, plans for additional green space and the issue of pedestrian safety.

According to the current plans, the Pace 103 bus, which stops at the west end of the store, would move to the east end, and then drive north, through the parking aisles, to exit the lot.

“I’m not crazy about a bus in the aisles,” said John Plepel, a board member. “Is the bus going to be able to exit safely?”

Paionk told the board that Walmart’s discussions with Pace were “just starting.”

“I know it’s a necessary store, but anything that can enhance that part of our town, I can’t implore you enough,” said board member Kevin Harnett, expressing
a desire for additional green space on the site.

Despite their concerns, all of the board members voted to move the proposal on to the village board, which will review the recommendations next week before granting or denying Walmart’s requests on another date.

The five variances are: allowing fewer parking spaces than currently required; smaller parking stalls; less mandated loading space; permission to build, even though the present plans do not comply with ordinances; and allowing an existing sign that exceeds the height code.

The 25,000-square-foot expansion would include a grocery store.