Task force: Naperville 'desperately needs' proposed houses for seniors

 
 
Updated 12/8/2016 8:29 AM
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A subdivision with 105 houses and duplexes for residents 55 and older may be coming to south Naperville, despite traffic concerns.

Pulte Home Corp. of Schaumburg has won preliminary approval from the city's planning and zoning commission to build Ashwood Crossing near the intersection of Wolf's Crossing Road, 95th Street and 248th Avenue.

The plan will prompt realignment of Wolf's Crossing so it no longer heads northeast at a diagonal and connects with 248th Avenue just south of 95th Street, but instead heads straight north at the western edge of the proposed subdivision and connects directly to 95th Street.

Planning and zoning commission Chairwoman Kamala Martinez, who lives in the area, said the realignment will cause drivers from the far southwest side of the city who want to head south on 248th Avenue to first have to drive farther north to 95th Street to make the connection. She said this will cause inefficient traffic patterns and backups.

She and two other members of the commission, Robert Williams and Peter Crawford, voted against the proposed 36-acre development, but it was given the go-ahead to seek city council approval by a 5-3 vote during a meeting Wednesday night.

Members of the city's senior task force praised Pulte for proposing 61 single-family houses and 44 duplexes for people 55 and older with single-story design, wide doorways and hallways, extra floor space for wheelchair turning, no-step entry from the outside and levers instead of door knobs for people with low hand strength. Ashwood Crossing also would have a homeowners association to take care of landscape maintenance.

With features like these, the proposed development meets 15 of 34 "lifetime home" criteria the task force established to promote construction of residences where seniors can stay as they age, and it earned the task force's "seal of approval," member Jim Hill said.

"It's something our community desperately needs," he said.

According to census data, of the roughly 45,000 housing units in Naperville, 11,000 are headed by someone 55 or older, and the senior task force expects that number to increase. Many of those residents could be thinking, as Hill and his wife are, that their four-bedroom houses are too big and no longer sensible.

Hill said such homeowners have equity and connections in Naperville and want to stay, but are beginning to look for a more suitably sized home.

"This is a solution. It's a small step. It's 100 units," Hill said about the Ashwood Crossing proposal. "There's 10,000 households looking for this, but I think it's very important to provide this kind of housing to keep the population in Naperville."

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