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Article updated: 12/1/2012 4:29 PM

Campton Hills plans survey for drug recovery center

By Harry Hitzeman

Campton Hills leaders plan to survey residents through a postcard in the village's upcoming newsletter in an attempt to get opinions about a controversial, 96-bed substance abuse treatment facility proposed at the former Glenwood School for Boys.

Village President Patsy Smith said each of the village's 3,608 homes will receive a numbered postcard ballot in the village newsletter in the first week of December asking for opinions on the Kiva Recovery Center.

The cards are due back no later than Dec. 15 and village leaders hope to get at least 1,500 responses, Smith said.

"It just gives the board an idea of how the community feels," she said. "Every household will get one vote. By doing the postcard, it gives everybody a safe environment to provide input."

Kiva opponents argue the facility will overly burden the village's fire/ambulance service, pose a security threat to nearby homes, hurt property values and tarnish the village's image.

Kiva officials say they will not detox clients at the facility, which will cost $30,000 for a month's stay and will be geared toward recovering professionals.

The proposal received a thumbs-up from the village plan commission in early November; trustees began consideration of the plan this week, hearing from more than 30 people who spoke at a meeting attended by more than 400 residents.

A follow-up meeting is planned for 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Kane County Fairgrounds, 525 S. Randall Road, St. Charles, where trustees could review a study from an independent appraiser on whether Kiva will hurt property values.

A Dec. 17 meeting also is planned and trustees could possibly vote then; no location has been decided but past meetings have been held at the Congregational United Church of Christ, 40W451 Fox Mill Blvd., Campton Hills.

For updated information, visit villageofcamptonhills.org.

Kiva opponents also want village trustees to put an advisory referendum on the April 2013 ballot and note how the village has asked for opinions via advisory referendum on less controversial matters.

For example, 5,480 people out of 7,731 registered voters chimed in on Nov. 6 on whether the village should allow video gambling, according to the Kane County Clerk's Office.

"It won't have the validity of a referendum. A postcard poll -- leave that to 'American Idol,' " said Abe Andrzejewski, spokesman for residents opposed to the plan. "The right way to take a poll is at the polls."

But Smith said a spring referendum is not feasible.

"The petitioner has a contract pending and they need to have a resolution on this," she said. "(The postcard survey) is easier than voting. All people have to do is check a box and put it in their mailbox."

The postcard will ask homeowners if they support the plan, oppose it, or are neutral and believe the matter is best left up to trustees.

Patrick Griffin, an attorney for Kiva, says he realizes trustees are trying to do the right thing by getting residents' input via the postcards, but is concerned that people responding will be influenced by misinformation. "The village trustees and plan commission members who hear all the evidence are the best to make the final decision," he said.

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