Taco Bell plans proceed in FP, off the table in OP

Permits expected within the next few weeks

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By Maria Maxham

Although Ampler Development recently withdrew its application for a Taco Bell location in Oak Park at 6000 to 6020 Roosevelt Rd., their Forest Park project at 161 Harlem Ave. is still proceeding, with permits being issued most likely within the next two weeks, according to Steve Glinke, director of the Department of Public Health and Safety, which oversees zoning for the village.

Forest Park is already home to a Taco Bell drive-thru restaurant at 7510 Roosevelt Rd., but the location off Harlem Avenue is predicted to draw a different group of commuting customers and bring in much-needed revenue for the village.

The new Taco Bell was given final approval by the village council at the Aug. 10 meeting. Prior to that, the project was vetted by the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) and the Plan Commission.

The process of permitting began after those approvals, with an outside contractor reviewing all the plans to ensure they meet code. Site engineering is reviewed by Christopher B. Burke Engineering. For this particular project, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and Illinois Department of Transportation will also need to give authorization for the project to begin.

Once permits are given, the project needs to begin within one year from council approval. Glinke estimates that for a project of this scale, construction would be quick, maybe 90 days depending on the weather. He predicts the developers might wait until spring before beginning construction.

In Oak Park, residents near the potential Roosevelt Road Taco Bell location voiced opposition to the development from the start. Most recently, according to a Wednesday Journal article by Stacey Sheridan, the developer requested a delay to obtain more traffic information at a March 4 ZBA meeting. The following meeting on April 1 was cancelled, and Ampler withdrew the application on Nov. 3.

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