Naperville’s Planning and Zoning Commission didn’t like a proposed nursing home for Naperville Crossings when they first saw the plan May 7, and they didn’t like it any better when the petition reappeared Wednesday night.
“Our concerns still remain,” Naperville Planning Services Team member Ying Liu told the commission before they unanimously voted against giving the project a positive recommendation to take to the full City Council.
Shelbourne Senior Living Services, a Georgia-based company, proposes a 104-bed nursing home near the corner of Route 59 and 95th Street.
The property is currently zoned B2 (Community Shopping Center) and the petitioner seeks not only a zoning change, but also a conditional use permit and a change to the planned unit development plan for the site.
City officials have said they are committed to developing the site with retail stores.
City staff and Plan Commission members argued in May that a nursing home was not a good fit for the site, making the point that, contrary to the petitioner’s argument, retail development was still possible on the site.
“It’s safe to say we don’t share the same opinion,” attorney Len Monson told the commission when making the case for the developer.
Since the May meeting, representatives of Shelbourne met with residents in opposition to the project and while all sides agreed that the meeting was cordial, the petition presented Wednesday night showed very little change, opponents of the plan said.
A request for a sign variance was withdrawn from the original petition and the developer added more green space to the plan for the site.
“It’s just absolutely the wrong place,” Ari Rosenthal, president of the Ashbury Homeowners Association, said.
Rosenthal acknowledged the need for a senior living facility in the south end of the city, but said that memory care patients are not compatible with a retail environment.
“They are basically on lockdown,” he said.
Kamala Martinez, president of the River Run Homeowners Association, agreed.
Saying, “we know there is a need” for senior housing in the area, she stressed that the area was best suited for a “pedestrian-friendly retail environment,” warning that sales tax dollars would be lost to Plainfield if the city didn’t stick to its original plan.
Commissioners didn’t need much persuasion, although they all thought the project would be a worthy fit for another location.
“Even the 75 percent of patients (who weren’t memory-impaired) tend not to be the people with spare cash,” Plan Commission member Tom Dabareiner said. “This is just not the location.”
Commisson member Kevin Coyne said the proposal “clearly doesn’t fit” and fellow commissoner Bob Williams said that it wasn’t the ideal spot for seniors, regardless of their finances.
“It never occurred to me that at my age (71) I’d want to live in a shopping center,” he said.
The developer is free to take the proposal to the full City Council without the positive recommendation from the commission.
Regarding Sherbourne Senior Living’s next move, Monson declined comment, saying only that he would consult with his client.Tags: City Council, Naperville Planning and Zoning Commission