GLEN ELLYN – Neighbors said they would be opposed to anything other than single-family residences near their subdivision, but the Glen Ellyn Village Board approved the rezoning of a nearly 4 acre parcel along Geneva Road to allow the construction of a memory care facility for seniors on July 22.
"The vast majority of (elderly people with memory disorders) are family members of people living in our community, and they live in our community today, and they should stay living in our community," Trustee Robert Friedberg said.
The 30,000-square-foot Autumn Leaves Memory Care Facility will include 46 spaces for seniors with Alzheimer's disease. The one story building was designed to appear residential, with a pitched, asphalt-shingle roof.
A single-family residence sits on the property where the facility will be built at 190 Geneva Road. Developer The LaSalle Group sought a zoning change, special use permit and exterior appearance approval in order to use the land for Autumn Leaves.
With the board's decision to grant all three, the zoning of the parcel changed from R2 Residential to R3 Residential. Although many acceptable uses are the same for both zoning districts, R3 allows for additional permitted and special uses, including congregate care for the elderly.
Residents who spoke at the village board meeting said they were concerned about how the development would change the character of their neighborhood and set a dangerous precedent for rezoning residential areas.
"Doing that should be a big deal, and it just seems like that's being kind of glossed over," resident Gary Mayo said. "From a legal perspective – and I think from a moral perspective as well – there has to be a compelling reason to do that."
A 6-foot-tall wooden fence will be installed along the north and west ends of the property. Trees will be maintained in those areas and about 40 additional evergreen trees will be planted around the property to buffer the area.
The development includes parking lots to the north and south of the building and a detention area on the northern end of the property. There will be three access points to the lots: two on Bloomingdale Road and one on Geneva Road.
Police Chief Phil Norton said he didn't foresee any traffic issues that would be caused by the new development. A study also showed the facility would generate the lowest amount of traffic during morning and evening peak hours, drawing fewer cars than a residential subdivision would if it were built on the property.
The site's two parking lots would include 29 spaces, which Trustee Diane McGinley worried would cause parking to spill onto nearby residential streets, although Matt Krummick of The LaSalle Group said facilities typically don't receive a high volume of visitors.
The board's lone "no" vote, McGinley cited a lack of parking and other reasons for voting against the development. However, she said she hoped The LaSalle Group would work with village staff to find a different location in Glen Ellyn if its requests were denied.