Evanston's plan commission is expected to consider a proposal for the development of a 13,000-square-foot Trader Joe's store on Chicago Avenue at tonight's meeting.
While the site plan (and even applause) from neighbors in May, some residents say they are concerned about how the store's delivery trucks will share an already busy alley with their garages.
Planned for a spring 2013 opening, Trader Joe's will be located at the former Blockbuster site at 1211 Chicago Avenue, which developer Terraco purchased for $2.3 million in August 2011. According to Trader Joe’s regional vice president Adam Mutolo, the 27-foot building composed of steel and red brick will be similar in size and layout to the one in Glenview, where many Evanston residents already shop. A loading dock and set of dumpsters will be enclosed in the back, with no access from the alley.
All vehicular traffic, including delivery trucks and dump trucks, will enter and leave the site from Chicago Avenue, Mutolo said at a community meeting in May. A typical Trader Joe’s gets two to three major tractor trailer deliveries a day, the first one as early as 3 or 4 a.m., he added.
While the plans stipulate that trucks will access the site only from Chicago Avenue, they also allow for the trucks to maneuver into the alley off Hinman Street--facing the back sides of a row of homes and their garages.
"We have deliveries to Sea Ranch, we have deliveries to Starbucks," among many other stores, said Hinman Street resident Pat Mulhern. "The alley is already very, very congested as it is."
Mulhern said he and several of his neighbors would be attending the plan commission meeting to speak up against any access for the store whatsoever to the alley.
"For all of us that have garages, we can't get our kids to school on time," he said. "It’s already hard enough for us to get in and out of our alley."
The Plan Commission meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 11, in the Civic Center. If they recommend the Trader Joe's plan to the city council for approval, it will go before the council for a vote within the next several months, according to city spokesperson Eric Palmer.