The Arlington Heights village board Monday stood by its earlier decision to approve a large expansion for a medical building along Rand Road, in spite of continued concerns from residents.
The trustees' unanimous approval of the planned two-story, 32,000-square-foot expansion at 1051 W. Rand Road came after a contentious discussion between residents and the petitioners at a meeting last month.
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The expansion will double the size of an existing 32,000-square-foot building that is home to Women Care, LabCore, Saunders Pediatrics and medical offices for doctors affiliated with Northwest Community Hospital. The project also includes additional parking spaces, bringing the site's total to more than 300, said petitioner and building owner John Brust.
The building, which today is at 94 percent capacity, will operate with 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. hours, though Brust expects fewer hours on weekends. A 24-hour care component is not planned.
Residents have expressed concerns about proximity, parking, security, noise and more.
"My neighbors and I are obviously against this project. We don't think it's friendly to us," said resident William Bailey. "The health care market in our area is saturated, which you can see with the medical buildings up and down Rand Road that are vacant."
There are no signed agreements for tenants of the new building, but Brust said Northwest Community Hospital Imaging Center and Integrated Orthopedics are both in talks to occupy up to 19,000 square feet of the new space.
As an additional condition on Monday, the petitioners agreed not to go forward with construction until they know there are tenants and have gotten the building permits approved by the village.
Other residents questioned the process of the project's approval at the last meeting.
The first vote on the proposal ended in a tie, which under village code meant it technically failed, but Village Manager Bill Dixon spoke up for the petitioners and suggested that the board reconsider. After further discussion the board approved a motion to reconsider and the petitioners agreed to several conditions addressing the residents' concerns. The plan was then unanimously approved.
The village attorney pointed out that Dixon is an adviser to the board and that he is allowed to participate in the debate.
"The process was fair, we've done what we've been asked to do and we've done additional each time we have been asked to," said Bernard Citron, lawyer for the petitioner. "We've done everything we can do. We have met all the standards required for this to be approved and we've gone above and beyond."
Several trustees said they appreciated Dixon's input and stood by their earlier view that the petitioners had already made sufficient concessions to the residents.
"Bill might think he can influence how we vote, but we are all independent voters and thinkers up here. We do appreciate being put on the right track, but we all vote independently," said Trustee Thomas Hayes.
Village staff members also pointed out that there are several shopping centers in town that are closer to residential property than this project and that if this land was developed by another petitioner, they may not be as willing to work with the residents.