Flossmoor board allows driveway parking for specially modified truck

William and Shonda Harrison will be permitted to park their specially modified pickup truck in the driveway of their Flossmoor home.

Flossmoor trustees approved the zoning request at the June 20 village board meeting. In a separate action at the meeting, the board turned down a zoning request from Goodwill Michiana Inc. that would have allowed a former bank building to be used as a potential drop-off site.

The Harrisons came before the board in March after the truck was ticketed on the driveway of their Cambridge Drive home. For years, Flossmoor’s zoning ordinance has prohibited pickup truck parking on residential driveways.

The truck is handicapped adaptive for Shonda Harrison, who is a disabled veteran. The Harrisons said driveway parking is a necessity since the 2015 GMC Sierra Denali is too large to fit into their garage. Under the zoning ordinance, pickup trucks must be parked in garages.

In their application for a zoning variance, the Harrisons said the truck does not fit in the garage. Even if the truck fit in the garage, there would not be enough clearance for the handicap vehicle ramp to be extended, they said. Also, parking in the garage would not provide an easy method for Shonda Harrison to enter their home.

After a presentation on the case by Inspectional Services Administrator Scott Bugner, the village board unanimously approved the Harrisons’ request.

There was also a unanimous vote on Goodwill as trustees turned down the not-for-profit agency’s zoning request.

Bugner said that village’s plan commission rejected Goodwill’s request following a June 2 public hearing. No Goodwill representatives were at last week’s board meeting.

The building in question was formerly a Great Lakes Bank drive-through branch, and is located in the triangle area between Kedzie Avenue and Governors Highway. The building has been vacant since 2014, shortly after First Midwest Bank took over Great Lakes Bank. First Midwest Bank still owns the property. Goodwill sought to use the building as a potential clothing and item drop off site.

 Plan commission members “all agreed that retaining taxable commercial properties is an important factor in relieving some of the burden on the residents of the village,” Bugner said.

The commission also pointed out that there is a similar Goodwill collection site for clothes and other items about two miles from the Flossmoor site. That drop-off site, on 183rd Street in Hazel Crest, was also a former Great Lakes Bank branch.

Bugner said the commission found “there was not a demonstrated need for the facility to be located at the proposed site.”

Granting the approval would have meant the village would lose property tax revenues from a commercial business, because Goodwill is a 501c3 non-profit organization.

Flossmoor resident Christopher Sewell submitted a letter stating he felt that letting Goodwill rezone the building would detract potential tax paying businesses from making the Flossmoor area their home. He requested that the village be patient and keep the building at its present zoning for future taxpaying businesses. Sewell is Flossmoor’s fire chief.

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