McHenry County Board denies request to turn single-family home into care facility

McHenry County Board denies request to turn single-family home into care facility

A residential house being pitched as a possible care center for older adults will not be allowed to move forward after McHenry County Board members voted almost unanimously against it at their meeting Tuesday.

A home in Algonquin that sits on a half-acre parcel was being proposed as a site to house up to four or five residents who needed care 24/7, according to county documents. The request asked for the house to be rezoned to allow it to be used as a residential care facility.

However, county board members objected to the change given concerns about traffic and the neighborhood it is in, which does not have curbs or sidewalks.

Logistics of how each resident would handle their own medical supplies and needs also was a concern for members such as county board member Theresa Meshes, a Democrat from Fox River Grove.

County board member Matt Kunkle, a Republican from Algonquin, said the neighborhood also is close to the Fox River, and there are no guardrails in place to keep someone from falling in.

“This is just a uniquely not suitable neighborhood for this type of facility,” Kunkle said.

At the county's Committee of the Whole meeting Jan. 12, county board member Gloria Van Hof, a Democrat from Crystal Lake, said she also was concerned with the number of people needed to visit the home, both in terms of personal visits and services.

She said she doesn't feel the residents in the area want it.

“I don't think this is fair to the residents or the individuals who live in the community,” Van Hof said. “This is not a place where I would want to have my elderly family member live.”

County board member Lou Ness, a Democrat from Woodstock, shared similar sentiments, noting she that doesn't feel the home will be welcomed in the area. She added the people being cared for could not walk in the area.

Many neighbors of the home shared those sentiments at previous zoning meetings, where the item was considered. At the county's Nov. 17 zoning meeting, residents said they were worried about parking and maintenance.

Some, such as Algonquin resident Lindsey Tobias, felt like the facility would make the area more dangerous, calling it “inappropriate” given the character of the neighborhood.

“We have great concerns that added traffic is going to be dangerous for the residents, many of whom have small children and animals,” she said.

County board member Brian Sager, a Republican from Woodstock, said those looking to set it up did not do a thorough job and “showed a lack of proper planning and due diligence” given the logistical issues and the number of neighboring residents opposed to it.

The lone person in favor of it, county board member John Reinert of Crystal Lake, a Republican, said group homes help those living in them and are eventually accepted as part of the community.

“I think these grandmas and grandpas have their rights,” he said.

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