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Memory care facility breaks ground in Glen Ellyn after neighbor opposition

Published: Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013 6:00 a.m. CDT
(Mary Beth Versaci - mversaci@shawmedia.com)
Mary Carol Deveney (left), Wheaton Chamber of Commerce events manager; John Barbee, The LaSalle Group vice president of construction; Kerry O'Brien, Wheaton Chamber of Commerce executive director; Leonard Sanchez, Wheaton Chamber member; Val Vesely, Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce member; Georgia Koch, Glen Ellyn Chamber co-executive director; Mike Formento, Glen Ellyn chamber co-executive director; and Cheryl Shurtz, member of the Glen Ellyn and Wheaton chambers, gather for the groundbreaking ceremony of the Autumn Leaves Memory Care Assisted Living Facility Oct. 30 in Glen Ellyn.

GLEN ELLYN – Despite opposition from neighbors earlier this year, a memory care facility has broken ground along Geneva Road in Glen Ellyn.

The 30,000-square-foot Autumn Leaves Memory Care Assisted Living Facility will house as many as 46 seniors with Alzheimer’s disease.

“It really is a needed service, and we do believe that we’re one of the best – if not the best – in the business, and we certainly want to provide that for this community,” said John Barbee, vice president of construction for The LaSalle Group.

The Glen Ellyn Village Board voted to rezone the nearly 4-acre parcel from R2 Residential to R3 Residential in July to allow the facility to be built at 190 Geneva Road.

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.

The development is bordered by homes on its north and west sides, and at the board meeting when the zoning vote took place, residents of the nearby Derby Glen subdivision said they would be opposed to anything other than single family residences in the area. They worried the development would change the character of their neighborhood and set a dangerous precedent for rezoning residential spaces.

Since then, developer The LaSalle Group has met with residents to discuss a foliage buffer between the development and its neighbors and performed a pre-construction walk-through with them as well, said Matt Krummick, regional director of development for The LaSalle Group.

The property will include more than 150 trees, many of which will be located as part of buffer areas on the north and west ends of the property. A 6-foot-tall wooden fence will be installed in those areas as well.

“It’s a huge buffer,” Krummick said.

However, even with the trees and fences, some worries remain.

Derby Glen resident Barb Ratkowski was not aware of meetings between the developer and neighbors. While her property is part of the subdivision, her yard does not abut the development.

She said she was notified when the home that previously sat on the property was going to be demolished, but hadn’t heard anything more.

Ratkowski had started a petition with other neighbors opposed to the rezoning when it was going to be considered by the Village Board. Ultimately, the only board member who voted against it was Trustee Diane McGinley, who cited a lack of parking as one reason for her vote.

“It will be interesting to see what happens,” Ratkowski said.

Construction began on the property in mid-September, but an official groundbreaking ceremony wasn’t held until Oct. 30.

Representatives from the Glen Ellyn and Wheaton chambers of commerce were present, as were village of Glen Ellyn staff members.

“We are certainly happy whenever we have a new business that comes to town,” said Georgia Koch, Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce co-executive director.

Koch hopes the facility will assimilate into the neighborhood and will benefit residents, she said.

The Glen Ellyn facility will be The LaSalle Group’s eighth in the Chicago area.

It is expected to open this summer, said Robin Carter, The LaSalle Group spokesperson.

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