Mount Prospect OKs apartments for disabled, mentally ill residents

Mount Prospect officials unanimously approved a final plan Tuesday for a mixed-use affordable housing development largely for mentally ill residents at the corner of Busse and Dempster roads.

Approval of the Meyers Place project comes about 18 months after Arlington Heights leaders rejected a similar plan from the same developer, leading to an ongoing federal discrimination lawsuit.

The Mount Prospect development, at 1601 S. Busse Road, will include 39 one-bedroom or studio apartments on the second, third and fourth floors, while the ground floor will contain a commercial/retail space that will support the residential units.

Tenants mostly will be adults who’ve experienced mental illness or a disability, including those who had been living with aging parents or may be in a transitional living environment.

While Arlington Heights and Buffalo Grove residents strongly opposed a similar project, called Boeger Place, near the villages’ border, there was no public opposition to Myers Place.

Village trustees even voiced excitement over the project.

“Having this kind of housing in Mount Prospect is important,” Trustee Steven Polit said.

The developer, the Daveri Development Group, will receive funding in the form of low-income housing tax credits from the Illinois Housing Development Authority. There also are several low interest loans and grants from state and federal governments funding the apartments.

Residents will be federally subsidized, paying only 30 percent of their income — typically Social Security — toward rent.

Daveri will team on the project with the Kenneth Young Center, an Elk Grove Village-based mental health agency, which will provide services to residents.

Susan Reynolds, the center’s clinical services director, previously told village officials residents will receive services that allow them to live independently. Although staff may be on site during evenings and weekends, no staff will live in the development. There are, however, procedures in place for 24-hour crisis intervention if necessary.

The chief concern among Mount Prospect leaders Tuesday was that a part of the original plan, a 3,561-square-foot medical clinic on the first floor, has fallen by the wayside because of federal budget cuts.

Jessica Berzac, vice president of the Daveri Development Group, told trustees the clinic is not essential and would have taken up only a small portion of the first floor.

“It’s such a minimal portion of the overall income for the project, and the financing is in place, regardless of that tenant,” she said.

“We don’t want to halt the construction of 39 highly needed apartment units,” in order to fill a small retail space, she added.

Daveri’s federal lawsuit against Arlington Heights, which alleges village trustees discriminated against the disabled when they rejected the Boeger Place project in May 2010, continues to move through the courts. The proposal called for a 30-unit apartment development at 120-122 E. Boeger Road.

Village officials deny the claim, saying they have made substantial efforts to accommodate disabled residents throughout the community. The case is scheduled to be in court Thursday for a status hearing.

Berzac said Daveri still hopes to build the Arlington Heights project.

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