‘We just want people to know about this situation’: Arlington Heights residents question proposed housing development
A small but hardy group of homeowners opposed to a three-story supportive housing development in their Arlington Heights neighborhood shared their message Saturday in front of the site.
Some passing drivers honked or waved in support of the protesters gathered in front of the long-vacant 3.9-acre site at 1519 S. Arlington Heights Road, about a half mile north of Golf Road.
“We just want more people to know about this situation,” said Celina Micko, who with her husband Bill were among about 10 residents who bundled up to hold signs and spread the word.
Their home abuts the property on the east. The couple are among those who say it's the wrong place for such a development.
Opponents also contend property values will suffer, among other considerations such as lights shining into homes, safety and privacy if the $13 million Grace Terrace project is approved.
The proposal by Full Circle Communities, a Chicago-based nonprofit affordable housing developer, to build a 25-unit affordable housing facility geared to people with disabilities and veterans, surfaced last spring and has heated up recently.
On Dec. 4, the Arlington Heights village board heard 3 ½ hours of presentations from the developer and village staff, questions from board members and comment from supporters and opponents.
Because the village's plan commission recommended 4-3 against the project, a supermajority of six of eight trustees was needed to authorize staff to prepare an ordinance for final approval.
“The only solution I think that's going to be acceptable to the residents is another location,” Mayor Tom Hayes said at the time in calling for an informal vote. Five trustees favored advancing the plan, meaning it would have failed as presented.
With that, the meeting was continued and staff directed to meet with Full Circle to make revisions for the board to consider at a to-be-determined date.
During the Dec. 4 meeting, village Trustee Jim Tinaglia said he voted against the project because it wasn't vetted properly but would support it if details are worked out.
What that might entail is unknown but residents are keeping the pressure on village officials and bringing attention to the matter. Organizers of the Saturday event say they have about 100 signatures in opposition, have an attorney on retainer and have been making public records requests.
Opponents say the property is not zoned for the proposed use and is out of place. The project also would alter the existing neighborhood of single family home and lower property values, they say.
Residents say they don't oppose helping veterans and disabled people but didn't contemplate additional low-income housing in the area.
The village has a special email list for project updates and information regarding Grace Terrace is available by searching for developments and projects at vah.com.
Grace Terrace would contain 20 one-bedroom and five two-bedroom independent living units for rent to people with physical or mental disabilities. Tenants would receive rental assistance through vouchers from the Housing Authority of Cook County.