Skokie Residents Oppose Proposed Carvana Vending Machine Along I-94

The Carvana tower would be located on the site of a current parking lot at 9831 Woods Dr.

NBC Universal, Inc.

If the online used car retailer Carvana has its way, a new 135-foot-tall mostly glass-enclosed "car vending machine" will soon greet drivers traveling along Interstate 94 in Skokie.

But some neighbors are determined to make sure the proposal doesn't come to fruition.

Residents at the nearby Optima Orchard Woods complex recently spoke out against the construction of the "car vending machine" next to their building and a forest preserve.

“We value the peace, the serenity, the woods, the character of the area," resident Mary Lee Lally said. "All of that is going to be influenced and affected."

The proposed Carvana tower would be located on the site of a current parking lot at 9831 Woods Dr. and visible to drivers along the nearby expressway.

“For 15 years, we’ve gone under the assumption that the character of the neighborhood would stay fairly constant, and this would be a major change,” said resident Asher Bronfeld.

Some contend the mostly-glass structure could create lighting and traffic problems and pose a hazard to birds.

"It could be very dangerous for the birds in a sense that when you have something that’s all glass, birds will either see nothing, because it’s transparent, or there’s reflections from the glass that birds will fly into," said Annette Prince of the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors.

Carvana did not respond to NBC 5's request for comment regarding the proposal.

Still, a real estate consultant’s appraisal delivered to the village of Skokie said Carvana towers are not detrimental to adjoining residential properties.

The appraisal concluded that the proposed Carvana in Skokie will be a very low-impact development from a physical, operational and visual standpoint and will “truly be a quiet neighbor.”

The company established a car vending machine in Oak Brook in 2019, the first in the Chicago area.

The village of Skokie told NBC 5 its planning commission approved the site plan – as long as issues pertaining to lighting, traffic and bird safety are resolved. The village also said it will work with Carvana to resolve the issues in a way that best serves the community and that it would consider the matter in early 2022.

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