When Campton Hills officials voted down plans to annex a would-be addiction recovery center in 2013, proponents feared the plan would resurface at the county level minus the village's input. That fear will come to life next month.
Kane County's zoning board will hear plans Nov. 17 to build an upscale rehab center on 120 acres at the former Glenwood School, 41W400 Silver Glen Road near St. Charles. The plan is bigger than the 2013 version that failed in Campton Hills. And it has more powerful allies this time.
The center would host a maximum of 120 residents, 24 more than the 2013 version. It would also include detoxification services for the first time.
The legal team behind the center now also includes F. Keith Brown, the recently retired Kane County chief judge.
Brown's expertise and connections may be key as dueling legal opinions already surround the project.
Maxxam Partners LLC is the developer. They've included legal and expert opinions from at least four firms in support of the project with their application to the county. Those opinions project up to 120 new jobs created by the center and $336,878 of new property tax income. The county stands to receive about $15,000 of that. Burlington Central Unit District 301 would receive about $256,000.
The site is zoned farmland. There are several special uses allowed in the county code for such a site, but an addiction recovery center is not among them. However, hospitals and/or a nursing homes are allowed.
Maxxam asserts its facility is sufficiently similar to either of those special uses that it would not be out of bounds for the county board to approve the project without setting a precedent.
There's already a legal opinion disputing that claim. Abram Andrzejewski is the CEO and founder of American Marketing & Publishing LLC, a large publisher of community telephone directories in the nation. He lives near the proposed site. He's paid for a legal opinion that says the recovery center is much more similar to a clinic or group home.
Neither are allowed in the county's farming districts. The opinion cites guest stays of up to 90 days and the different regulatory systems that Illinois has for hospitals and alcohol and drug treatment facilities as supporting evidence for the position.
A survey showed about 75 percent of Campton Hills residents opposed the treatment facility in 2013. Harry Blecker's opposition fueled his victory over former Village President Patsy Smith.
Blecker, while appearing at a Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District meeting Monday night, said the village is calling on the county to have a full staff review of the project before even an advisory vote is taken by the county's zoning board. Blecker said the village will not take an official position on the project.
The village paid a $500,000 settlement to the developers of the 2013 plan after they threatened to file a federal discrimination lawsuit based on fair housing laws for people with disabilities.
Blecker said any county approval of the project should require a zoning map or text amendment. That requires a supermajority vote of the county board, making final approval less likely.
"We won't keep it quiet," Blecker said. "We will let people know when and where the public hearing is at."
County officials are already anticipating a pitched battle. They've moved the public hearing on Nov. 17 to Kane County branch court at 540 S. Randall Road in St. Charles to accommodate the crowd.