Carvana must start over on Skokie car vending tower to avoid killing birds

Village said the dealer will have to meet stricter requirements now, after previous approval expired

Johanna Nyden with Skokie Village Board and a Carvana vending machine
Johanna Nyden with Skokie Village Board and a Carvana vending machine (Getty, LinkedIn, Google Maps)

Carvana’s plans to build a car vending machine tower in a Chicago suburb is being forced into a detour that local leaders say will prevent birds from being killed by a new glass tower.

The used car dealer will have to reapply to build a structure near a forest preserve after a Skokie local government approval of the project expired, the Skokie Review reported. Carvana will now have to work with stricter codes in designing the project, including taking extra precautions against accidental bird deaths.

Back in May, the village board, which approved the building in February 2022, told Carvana to stop any work on the site until it resolved a state decision to suspend its dealer’s license because it misused out-of-state temporary registration permits and failed to transfer titles. Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias reached a settlement with the auto dealer recently.

The Skokie Village Board’s previous vote cleared the way for the building in a district zoned for office research. The suspension was a relief for multiple local residents who opposed the tower, some of whom said it would become a “killing machine” for birds. Others raised concern about potential noise and traffic headaches.

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Now, Johanna Nyden, Skokie’s director of community development, has told the car dealer that it would need to start the approval process over again because more than six months have passed since the village approved the project.

“Since a period longer than six months has lapsed with none of this (building) activity undertaken, the site plan approval ordinance has become invalid and will be repealed,” Nyden wrote, according to the outlet. “A new request for site plan approval will be required at this time and the process to start anew.”

Carvana’s planned tower will also now have to comply with two different village ordinances that have passed since the last approval. One is an updated building code and the other requires stronger bird-strike mitigations, as many residents expressed concerns about birds from the adjacent forest preserve flying into the clear glass.

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