Residents address Zoning Committee about facility for elderly
By Dan McLeister For The Elmhurst Independent
Residents emphasized they were not opposed to the Elmhurst Extended Care (EEC) function of taking care of elderly and disabled people, but were adamantly against a proposed two-story addition that would encroach on the Fremont Ave. residential neighborhood and could decrease property values.
Residents noted that EEC, which has been on Lake St. since 1961, did not have buildings on Fremont.
At a Development, Planning and Zoning (DPZ) Committee meeting on April 10, the attorney for the owner stated that the denial by the City for the 51,000 square-foot addition could be a violation of Federal discrimination laws which protect elderly people.
The Zoning and Planning Commission (ZPC), an advisory group, recently denied the request for an addition by a 5-2 vote.
The DPZ Committee of three aldermen will issue a report either agreeing with the ZPC or disagreeing with the ZPC.
The City Council has the final vote. Mayor Steve Morley, who does not usually attend DPZ Committee meetings, noted that aldermen would discuss the request by EEC for an addition at the second meeting in May since the first meeting would be devoted to the installation of newly-elected members.
After hearing testimony from residents as well as the owner and his attorney, Scott Levin (5th Ward), chairman of the DPZ Committee, spoke.
“We take this situation very seriously,” he said. “We will pick up this request for an addition at the next DPZ meeting in two weeks.”
City Attorney Don Storino, who does not usually attend DPZ meetings, said at the April 10th meeting he did not take issue with anything that was said. A court reporter recorded all the testimony.
Jay McNichols was one of the residents most affected by the proposed addition, since he displayed a rendering which indicated he and his wife would be looking out his backyard at 12 to 15 windows from the proposed building.
Greg Pellico said EEC wants to put the building between houses on Fremont and does not care about residents. He asked aldermen if they would like to have a two-story building near their houses.
Eileen Orser commented that the proposed building was out of character with the neighborhood.
Theresa McCarthy pointed out that the proposed building would be in the middle of a block, not at the end of a street.
Ken Smallwood stated that the owner and his attorney provided “extremely misleading information.”
“We understand the needs for the business but it should not be on the backs of neighbors,” he said.
“We try to advocate for our residents,” said Love Dave, the owner of EEC. “We are not just operating a money-maker.”
Christina Morrison, an attorney for the owner, said the City rejecting the addition “could be discriminatory.”