Senior living plan nixed by village

For the second time in less than a month, a proposed planned development along the north side of Ogden Avenue in northwest Hinsdale has been rejected.

At Tuesday’s village board meeting, developer Ryan Companies withdrew its concept for 240-unit assisted living facility and 27 independent living villas on 32.5 acres at Ogden and Adams Street after trustees deferred to residents’ concerns over the project’s density and traffic impact.

“The current design is too far off from what is going to be acceptable to people for us to move to the next stage,” Trustee Matt Posthuma said of the envisioned three-story, 330,000-square-foot senior living building. The property is currently owned by the Institute of Basic Life Principles.

Village President Tom Cauley said he had received dozens of calls and more than 100 emails in recent days, almost exclusively from residents opposed to the project. For that reason, he advised that trustees should not refer it to the plan commission for a public hearing.

“People think it’s way too dense,” Cauley said. “I agree. I think that we could do better.”

Trustee Scott Banke said the increased burden on Hinsdale’s emergency personnel from such a facility could be significant.

“The size of this development could put serious pressure on our current village services, particularly on our EMT staff,” he said.

The proposal was Ryan’s second iteration. The company revised an earlier plan by moving the villas from the west side of Adams in Oak Brook to the east side, altering the facade and including a widening of Adams Street at Ogden to accommodate turn lanes.

But that didn’t satisfy homeowners in the Fullersburg neighborhood. Dan Hemmer, representing the Fullersburg Neighbors Organization, said residents would rather see a development comparable to the 63-bed Eve Assisted Living in the central business district and with access to and from Ogden like ManorCare.

“If this had its own dedicated access onto Ogden with right-in, right-out (turns), so that they weren’t accessing residential streets ... I think that would solve a lot of the traffic issues,” Hemmer said.

Last month, the same group helped influence the village’s plan commission to vote against McNaughton Development’s proposal to build 46 single-family homes on IBLP-owned land between Madison and Adams streets. The density, traffic impact and potential overcrowding at local schools were the leading arguments against it.

Trustee Gerry Hughes said Ryan approached the process the right way and suggested the developer be given clearer direction on scaling the facility to meet public approval.

“If there’s a target density, what would it be? Target traffic, what would it be? So that we could give some more guidance so that the Ryan Group isn’t just spinning its wheels,” Hughes said.

But Cauley resisted that notion, saying Ryan should take their cues from resident feedback.

“I don’t think that’s my job,” he said. “I just think that’s a pitfall for elected officials to lay out the groundwork for a development.”

While some residents expressed the desire for the site to be rezoned residential instead of institutional, that was not entertained by trustees. Under zoning regulations, a developer could construct a building on the property 11 feet higher and with much smaller setbacks than Ryan proposed.

Trustee Luke Stifflear encouraged residents to work with Ryan.

“It’s not going to stay as it. Someone is going to develop it,” he said.

Cauley remarked that he likes the idea of senior living at that location versus a large government building.

“I continue to believe that an assisted living/independent living facility may the right use for that property,” he said. “If we don’t develop this property and don’t put something there, we could get something there that no one likes.”

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean