The Wheeling plan commission approved the Philhaven proposal, a 50-unit building for low-income residents with mental or physical disabilities, and passed it on to the full village board.
Philhaven, proposed for 2418 W. Hintz Road in Wheeling by the Daveri Development Group LLC in conjunction with the Kenneth Young Center and Alexian Brothers Health System, was approved unanimously by the commissioners. The full village board will take up the proposal next month.
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Philhaven has generated controversy in the community -- both because of the residents who would occupy the one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and also because of concerns about parking and flooding.
Case managers will visit the site to help residents with vocational, wellness, socialization and other needs, backers said, but there will not be a 24/7 licensed supervisor on-site.
Mark Bruski, CEO of the Kenneth Young Center, estimated that about two-thirds of the residents would be unemployed, but all residents would have to qualify for the housing through an income analysis. Residents would also go through a social service assessment and a criminal-background check -- felons or sex offenders would not be allowed to rent in the building.
"We are, by law, not to take that (the disabilities of future tenants) into consideration, and we're not," said Commissioner Bill Maloney before voting to approve the project.
Daveri Development was also behind a similar project called Boeger Place that was rejected in Arlington Heights and is now the subject of a lawsuit.
A similar 39-unit building was approved in Mount Prospect, and construction will begin in early May.
Maloney and the rest of the board said they gave their votes a lot of thought, considering the parking and flooding issues that in the area, but were satisfied that both issues had been addressed.
Engineers are proposing changing the topography to direct water onto Hintz Road rather than toward the neighboring Lakeside Villas subdivision, a change that was made in agreement with a consultant for the Lakeside Homeowners Association.
"The proposed control on water runoff will appear to make the situation better, not worse," Maloney said while some in the audience audibly disagreed. "No one can predict nor guarantee what will happen should it rain for 40 days and 40 nights."
"I would rather see this complex built somewhere else, but no matter where it is built, people will want it built somewhere else," Maloney said.
The proposal was discussed during nearly 10 hours of public hearings on March 8 and April 12 before the commission made its recommendation on Thursday, but many still had questions, even trying to interrupt the commissioners' discussion.
A small group of concerned residents met after the meeting to discuss emailing trustees and gathering neighbors to appear at the village board meeting in May.
"I don't believe Daveri is being completely honest with us on a lot of these issues," resident Mary Godley said,
The Wheeling village board will consider the Philhaven development May 21.