Developers behind an embattled project to build a gas station in Glen Ellyn are asking the village to agree to refund their Ohio-based company more than $500,000 in the event a DuPage County judge rules in favor of neighbors who filed a lawsuit to block construction.
Neighbors sued in May to prevent Truenorth Energy from building the station and a convenience store at the corner of Main Street and St. Charles Road. Truenorth paid $630,000 to buy the village-owned property at the northern gateway to Glen Ellyn.
Developers asked trustees to agree to modify the original agreement to allow them to recoup the money should neighbors prevail in the legal battle.
Trustees discussed the request in executive session Dec. 18, one week after DuPage Judge Bonnie Wheaton denied the village's and Truenorth's motions to dismiss an amended complaint.
The board will vote Monday on whether to authorize Village Manager Mark Franz to prepare a letter to Truenorth reflecting an agreement to refund the purchase price if the judge grants an injunction stopping construction.
Village staffers have recommended trustees approve the request "in the interest of good faith dealing inherent in any contract agreement," according to a memo to the board.
The lawsuit lists Protect Glen Ellyn Inc. as the plaintiff. The nonprofit formed to "protect the health, safety and economic well-being of residents" and to advocate for "responsible development," according to the suit.
Shortly before three new trustees took their seats last spring, the former village board moved to finalize the sale of the village-owned site to Truenorth. Trustees also agreed to limit the hours of the station -- Truenorth initially wanted to operate round-the-clock -- but the restrictions failed to appease neighbors.
The village paid $590,000 in September 2010 to buy the property where a smaller gas station with four pumps had become an eyesore. To spark redevelopment, the village demolished the former Marathon station and completed environmental remediation of the contaminated soil.
In 2012, the village put out a request for proposals from developers and received just two. One was not feasible, and the other called for a gas station, which later fell through, village planners have said.
About two years later, no one responded to the village's second formal request for proposals. The village board hired real estate firm DK Mallon in August 2014 to market the property. Truenorth made an offer in August 2015.
But the company's plans touched off traffic, environmental and health concerns from neighbors during marathon public hearings on the project.
A status hearing on the lawsuit will take place in courtroom No. 2007 at 9 a.m. Jan. 25.