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New Pilot Travel Centers design receives approval

MORRIS – Pilot Travel Centers came back before the city Thursday to present yet another design revision, and this one was to the liking of the Development Review Committee.

The project was presented Thursday to the Morris Development Review Committee during its regular meeting. The gas station will be on the east side of Route 47, and on the south side of Mall Road, across from Costco.

It was first presented to the city in 2012, but the project was delayed due to internal issues at Pilot. Pilot now hopes to begin construction in mid-April.

When Pilot came before the city last month, the station building’s size had increased from about 10,000 square feet to about 11,700 square feet.

The station will include Subway, PJ Fresh Marketplace and Cinnabon restaurants.

In February, the committee was not a fan of the new design presented by Pilot. The building had been flipped. In its original plan, the side facing Mall Road was more aesthetically pleasing. In the redesign, it was mostly stucco wall. 

Brandon Parks, project manager for Pilot, said then the flip was done to try and pull more traffic coming from the north that will see the building more.

The DRC’s concern with this is that Mall Road is eventually planned to be a commercial corridor.

So at some point there will be higher amounts of traffic on Mall Road, along with other shopping centers and retail stores, and the city wants that side of the gas station to be appealing as well.

Pilot returned this week with another revision following the committee’s requests to jazz up the Mall Road side of the building.

“We’ve taken the concerns Morris made and went back and revised both the back and front elevations,” Parks said Thursday.

Pilot raised the front entrance some to make it more exaggerated, as well as added some crown molding.

In addition, an escape ladder that was previously on the Mall Road side was moved to the rear of the building.

Also on the Mall Road side, additional material was added, giving it more texture, as well as another Pilot sign.

Building and Zoning officer Bill Cheshareck expressed continued concern over the reduction in parking spaces available from the the first proposal in 2012.

The parking plan has gone from 108 spaces to 73. The committee mirrored this concern, not wanting the traffic issues the Pilot in Minooka sees.

“I would like to see a stipulation strictly enforcing no parking on Mall Road with this reduction in parking. There is still the same number of dispensing stations in the trucking area,” Cheshareck said.

“At a lot of truck stops you see a lot of parking on roadways,” he continued.

Signs will be posted on Mall Road prohibiting parking, and the curb will be painted.

Parks said the Minooka location has 10 more parking spots than Morris, but Morris will have much more room for stacking, which Minooka does not have.

“So they will be off the road so there will not be the back-up Minooka has,” Parks said.

The committee approved the site plan, including its landscaping and building plan, with a few stipulations including that Pilot cannot have any cargo on-site after the station is occupied, any accessory buildings have to come back before the DRC and no trucks can park on Mall Road.

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