Little City, Bloomingdale part ways on group home idea

Group home won't open in Bloomingdale

Little City Foundation didn't need a village board vote to know that Bloomingdale wouldn't be the site of its next group home.

The Palatine-based organization announced on Monday night that it was abandoning plans to buy a house in Bloomingdale and convert it into a group home for eight developmentally disabled men. Instead, it's going to take the idea to another community.

Shawn Jeffers, Little City's executive director, told Bloomingdale trustees the organization is “moving on” and has found another possible site in a different town.

“I withdrew my application for the purchase of that (Bloomingdale) home,” Jeffers said. “Why? Because I didn't want horizontal hostility for the people who I represent. And it was very clear that they were not welcome.”

Jeffers comments were made before Bloomingdale trustees voted 4-2 to formally reject Little City's group home plan. He said before the meeting that he wanted to speak to the board to voice frustration about the way the petition was handled.

“I have opened up group homes in a number of communities throughout the state,” Jeffers said. “The reception that we have received (in Bloomingdale) has been shocking.”

Little City is an organization that helps create living and working opportunities for adults and children with developmental disabilities.

But Little City's plan to transform a four-bedroom house on Greenway Drive into a group home was opposed by neighbors. The village's plan commission recommended that the petition be rejected.

“The fears about people with disabilities and property values and traffic and danger to neighborhoods ... we have learned to accept that on a neighbor-by-neighbor basis,” Jeffers said. “But it seems like even the leadership (in Bloomingdale) has adopted a similar attitude that says, 'You're OK somewhere else, but not in our community.'”

Village President Franco Coladipietro responded by saying the characterization made about Bloomingdale “was a little excessive.”

Coladipietro, who voted against the group home, explained that the project would have been too dense with eight adults living in the house. There also would have been two supervisors there at all times.

“If you approve that type of a use in that (residential) area, it opens up the door to other types of uses that are not currently permitted there,” Coladipietro said.

The “other types of uses” include boardinghouses, fraternity houses, bed-and-breakfasts and residential treatment centers.

Several neighbors said they're not allowed to have eight unrelated people living in their houses. So a group home shouldn't be allowed to have that many people living there, they argued.

Coladipietro said Little City was asked to scale back the project.

“They told us that it was eight or nothing,” Coladipietro said. “So there was no compromise relative to the residents' concerns.”

  Liz Gacic, Bloomingdale resident, speaks out against plans by Little City to create a group home at 116 Greenway Drive in Bloomingdale. Bev Horne/
  The Bloomingdale village board rejected plans by Little City to create a group home at 116 Greenway Drive in Bloomingdale during its board meeting on Monday. Bev Horne/
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