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Downers Grove

Owners of proposed living facility in Downers Grove might buy, relocate Donegal Excavating

DOWNERS GROVE – The supportive living facility planned for Lacey Road might mean the end of a long-time irritant for residents in the neighborhood.

If approved by the village council, developers of the project now plan to buy and relocate Donegal Excavating from its lot at 4240 Lacey Road when it begins construction next door.

"I'm excited about it, for sure," neighbor Nick Janowitz said Wednesday. "I think it'll be nice. I think it will definitely [raise] my property values, and I wont have to look at dump trucks all day."

Janowitz and other neighbors have been frustrated for years over the noise and diesel truck traffic generated by the construction business. It is allowed to operate from a residentially zoned lot because of a 20-year-old court order that essentially grand-fathered it in.

"This will return our neighborhood into what it was before Donegal moved in – a nice, quiet community neighborhood," neighbor Rich Janske said in response to the news Wednesday.

Village council members called the project a win-win at their meeting Tuesday night.

"Having a 120-unit senior living facility will be a benefit for our community," Village Commissioner Geoff Neustadt said. "But there is also a sub-benefit in a kind of a micro level with the removal of an excavation company from Lacey Road. Many of us have sat up here and listened to the neighbors complain and have issues with constantly being bombarded by an excavation company across the street."

The wooded lot at 4200 Lacey Road, directly north of Donegal, picked for the 97,000-square-foot development is the fourth attempted location for the project by Delta Development and the engineering firm C.M. Lavoie.

Previously, a proposal for 63rd Street was denied by the village because it did not meet the five-acre lot size requirement; an attempt downtown was denied by commissioners who said it did not meet the goals for that area of town; and a second attempt on 63rd Street fizzled after opposition from neighbors.

At Tuesday's council meeting, village staff provided the first reading of several zoning and financing items for development of the 120-unit supportive living facility.

"The petitioner worked very hard at this design and I think they did a really god job of taking what could have been something boxy and unattractive, and really making it fit in and be attractive," Downers Grove Community Development Director Tom Dabareiner said.

Among the items presented to the council was an ordinance to rezone a sliver of the property from light manufacturing to residential. Other items would combine the three lots into one, and approve a special use for the facility.

To finance the project, the village plans to sell a $20 million bond and loan the money to the developers. Village officials said the village would not be liable for the bond if the developers failed to make payments, and the bond would not affect the village's AAA rating.

The council is also being asked to waive some permit fees.

The council is expected to vote on the items, which would approve the project, next month.

C.M. Lavoie owner Christopher Lavoie said developers hope to break ground in December, if plans are approved by the village next month. That start-time is also weather dependent, he said.

Lavoie said Donegal is being relocated outside of Downers Grove but would not provide a specific location. He said the move would happen simultaneously with the groundbreaking.

"I'm excited because it's a project that is desperately needed in our community and elsewhere to handle senior living in this capacity, in this type of structure," he said.

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