A proposed one-story, 30,000-square-foot nursing home is coming to Glen Ellyn, despite opposition from nearby residents who say the development won't be the right fit for their neighborhood.
The village board voted 4-1 Monday to grant zoning approvals that pave the way for construction of an Autumn Leaves memory care facility, which will be built on the northwest corner of Geneva and Bloomingdale roads.
The nursing home would have 46 beds and a total of 40 units and be staffed by registered nurses 24 hours a day. It would sit on a 3.84-acre site, currently occupied by a single-family home.
The board approved a change in zoning districts from R2 residential to R3 residential, which permits single-family homes along with slightly more dense developments, village officials said.
The property had been classified R2 residential since it was annexed into the village in 1995. It's surrounded by single-family homes and is just blocks from Churchill Elementary School.
Gary Mayo, a resident whose property abuts the proposed development, told village board members that he believes the project amounts to putting a commercial use within a residential area, even though it may be a permitted use under the R3 zoning classification.
"Do we really want to vote to approve a project that completely changes the character of neighborhood, upsets residents, creates safety issues near an elementary school, and sets a dangerous precedent, just to generate a few more tax dollars?" said Mayo, who is also a Glen Ellyn Park District commissioner. "We don't think it's appropriate to have a commercial business in the middle of a residential area."
Mayo said local residents would be in favor of single-family homes on site, of which it could fit about 10. He said he was aware of a residential developer who expressed interest in the property before the economy collapsed.
Staci Hulseberg, the village's director of planning and development, said a day care facility had previously been proposed for the site, but the project never came to fruition.
Trustee Robert Friedberg said he didn't see the proposed nursing home as a commercial development but as a residential development.
"The elderly with memory disorders are family members of our community members," Friedberg said. "They live in our community today, and they should stay in our community."
The village's comprehensive plan suggests the placement of senior living, assisted living and extended care facilities is acceptable within areas designed for low and medium residential use.
Trustee Diane McGinley, who was the lone vote against the project, said she didn't believe the proposed facility would be a good fit for the site. She expressed concerns with traffic in and out of the development and a lack of parking -- only 29 spaces for a facility that will have at least 15 employees.
Hulseberg said the village's traffic consultant estimates the nursing home would be the lowest traffic generator when compared to a day care center, school or church.
Matthew Krummick, regional director of development at the LaSalle Group, the project's developer, said there generally isn't a large demand for more parking at other Autumn Leaves facilities.
"We really don't get a lot of visitors unfortunately," he said. "Our residents don't drive. We just don't have a demand for that many cars."
Hulseberg said the property would be screened by a 6-foot tall wooden fence on the western and northern borders and additional landscaping.
The village's architectural review commission recommended approval of the proposed building's exterior appearance on a 5-0 vote on June 26.
The plan commission recommended approval of zoning variances on a 6-2 vote on June 27.
Other Autumn Leaves facilities have been developed in Crystal Lake, Vernon Hills, St. Charles, Oswego and Orland Park. Facilities are now under construction in South Barrington and Bolingbrook, and others have been proposed in Arlington Heights and Gurnee.