'A size 10 foot into a size 4 shoe': Palatine commission turns down plan for affordable housing
A preliminary plan to build a 58-unit affordable housing building got the thumbs-down from the Palatine plan commission after widespread opposition from neighboring residents.
The plan came from Northpointe Development of Wisconsin, which is partnering with Lutheran Social Services for the approximately $20.4 million proposed project that was allocated $15 million in low-income housing tax credits by the Illinois Housing Development Authority.
The developers propose to build a three-story building on approximately 2.5 acres at 874-920 N. Quentin Road, on the southwest corner with Poplar Street. All of the apartments -- one-, two- and three-bedrooms -- would be set aside for tenants whose income is between 30% and 80% of the area's median income.
Village staff members recommended denying the plan, and the plan commission did the same after a public hearing Tuesday night. The village council will have final say and is expected to discuss the matter Aug. 9.
Plan commissioners praised the developer's successful record of affordable housing developments, but they didn't like the plan for the Palatine site, saying it's too dense. The area consists of single-family homes and townhouses, with an apartment complex further north.
"It's fitting a size 10 foot into a size 4 shoe," Commissioner Stephen Fedota said.
Staff members also had concerns about density, plus increased traffic and the lack of a deceleration lane on Quentin Road.
Several residents spoke Tuesday against the plan, saying they are worried about traffic, noise and light pollution, and changing the character of the neighborhood.
"We all moved to this neighborhood because of the rural feel," resident Julie Picchiotti said. "We feel like putting a development like this ... it will look like patchwork and does not fit our community."
"Please, please don't destroy the beauty of this neighborhood," said longtime resident Nanette Harris.
The village received a petition with 181 written and 100 electronic signatures against the development. Multiple residents and homeowners associations sent emails opposing the project.
There was one email in favor of the project, with two residents expressing support Tuesday night.
"I like the idea that a new group of neighbors could enjoy Palatine just as much as my family has," resident Frank Derosa stated in a letter read to the commission.
The Northpointe developers said the new building would be as close as possible to Quentin Road and as far as possible from residences to the west. There would be underground parking with 64 stalls, plus more above ground, and professional management and landscaping.
"We expect to put a pretty high product (there)," Northpointe Principal Sean O'Brien said.
Lutheran Social Services Vice President Dennis Hanson said a service coordinator would help residents identify services they might need, such as financial education, child care, transportation, counseling, health care and more. There would be "pretty rigorous" tenant screening, including references and criminal background checks, he said.
The last plan presented for the Quentin Road property came in 2011 with a proposal to build an Alzheimer's and memory care facility with three stories and 75 units, later reduced to 69 units. The plan was approved, but the development never came to fruition.
The Northpointe developers said they examined the 2011 plan to craft their own plan for the affordable housing building.
But a major difference is that the memory care facility would not have generated the same daily traffic from residents, said Ben Vyverberg, director of planning and zoning for Palatine.