Wheeling rejects Philhaven development again
The Wheeling Village Board on Monday again voted down Philhaven, a proposal for a multifamily apartment complex to house low-income residents with mental or physical disabilities.
The trustees voted along the same lines as they did in a May vote on the issue: All six trustees voted against the project, and only Village President Judy Abruscato voting for it.
Daveri Development Group LLC had removed earlier requests for variances and was seeking site plan and appearance approval for Philhaven, a 50-unit building at 2418-2422 W. Hintz Road.
The project has generated controversy over the past six months -- both because of the residents who would occupy the one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and concerns about parking and flooding.
Daveri Development is behind a similar project in Mount Prospect that was approved and is now under construction. The group's Arlington Heights project, Boeger Place, was the subject of a lawsuit that was dismissed last month.
Trustees said the fact that residents must have a disability to live in the building and that they will be receiving services in their personal apartments makes it as a special use and, therefore, Philhaven does not fit under the zoning code for that area. Developers disagreed, saying they're only asking for a multifamily housing complex. They added that services provided would be similar to those that any resident may have in their personal home whether they are elderly, recovering from surgery or have other medical needs.
"What we were voting on was site plan and appearance; I don't know how you can vote against that," Abruscato said after the vote.
Although some trustees said they felt threatened by the idea of a lawsuit like the one filed against Arlington Heights, Abruscato said she didn't feel threatened and hoped it wouldn't come to that.
Developers and supporters of the project said they weren't sure on Monday night what the next steps would be for Philhaven, but they were disappointed with the outcome.
"I know it's hard to resist the fear factor, but I'm convinced this would be a safe, well-managed facility that would be a real asset to Wheeling," former Village President Sheila Schultz said during public comment.
Following the vote, Schultz said she was disappointed in everyone except Abruscato.
"I don't understand the thought process. They (Daveri) met every requirement," she said.
Still, trustees maintained that the Hintz Road location is the wrong place for the project.
"How dare folks come in and say we're not sensitive to the needs of folks out there. We have five zoning districts in our community that would welcome this project," Trustee Dean Argiris said. "But it's not about that. It's about finding the right portion of land for a profit organization to make money."