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Government

Committee advances Elmhurst Extended Care expansion to City Council, again

John McNichols, who lives on Fremont Avenue in Elmhurst, addresses Elmhurst's Development, Planning and Zoning Committee about his concerns with the Elmhurst Extended Care Center's potential expansion at the committee's March 12 meeting.
John McNichols, who lives on Fremont Avenue in Elmhurst, addresses Elmhurst's Development, Planning and Zoning Committee about his concerns with the Elmhurst Extended Care Center's potential expansion at the committee's March 12 meeting.

ELMHURST – Elmhurst Extended Care Center's request for the conditional use of properties on Fremont Avenue is headed to the Elmhurst City Council following a Development, Planning and Zoning Committee meeting March 12.

The committee previously decided Feb. 12 in favor of the center, an assisted living facility at 200 E. Lake St. in Elmhurst, which seeks to expand its facility onto 193 and 197 E. Fremont Ave., immediately south of its Lake Street property.

However, alderman Michael Honquest, the chairman of the committee, said at the meeting that alderwoman Dannee Polomsky had approached him with some additional conditions, which also appeared in a letter shared with the applicant to see if the applicant would be open to "finding some middle ground" or be able to address some of the items. Honquest said he did not know who sent the letter, nor did the documents associated with the committee meeting include the name of the sender.

Honquest pulled the case back to committee, "as a courtesy," and there was discussion between city staff and the applicant on the items in the letter.

The committee reviewed the conditional use items following public comment, including remarks from Elmhurst resident John McNichols.

McNichols said the "use and enjoyment" of nearby properties would be "compromised."

"So tonight, and going forward, you have the authority and you have the responsibility, if you're going to approve this, to limit the impact and the harm, not just to our neighborhood, but to all of Elmhurst," he said.

Assistant City Manager Mike Kopp presented the recommendations from Polomsky and the letter and the responses from the applicant.

One proposal was ensuring that landscaping, an issue that had been discussed previously, between adjacent properties would provide privacy screening year-round and the height of landscaping would be conducive to providing privacy for neighbors.

In response, care center attorney Scott Day stated in a letter that the center "remains willing" to work with both the city and residents to "reasonably modify" the landscaping of the Fremont Avenue frontage to provide an appearance and screening that "serves the best interests" of both care center residents and neighbors.

He said the center recommends a meeting be scheduled among design firm Hitchcock Design Group, care center owner and administrator Love Dave, and a representative of the Fremont Avenue owners to coordinate the design modifications.

Another proposal was that there not be any door alarms on the south, west or east sides of the building. Day's response was that door alarms would "eliminate all external broadcast and provide solely internal door alarm notification to EECC staff and personnel."

Alderwoman Noel Talluto said she was prepared to move the report forward as it was, and the modifications were a further step toward the parties working together, so she did not see any reason not to support the further modifications.

"I think they've addressed most of the issues. Sounds like they're trying to work with the neighbors, and that's what we want them to do," alderman Mark Mulliner said.

The building department's permit review will occur following the decision of the City Council, which also will review the landscaping plan in a visual exhibit before voting on it. Kopp said they would need to set up a time for the city to meet with both parties after the report is approved to finalize the landscaping and site plan for the ordinance.

The next City Council meeting is March 19.

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