Trustees: Ryan proposal still too dense

Board wants development with fewer than 200 units, IDOT’s OK for turn lane on Adams

Before the Hinsdale Village Board will refer Ryan Companies’ plan for a senior living facility on Ogden Avenue to the village’s plan commission, density and traffic concerns will have to be addressed.

That’s the message trustees sent to Dave Erickson, Ryan Companies’ vice president of real estate development, after listening Tuesday night to Erickson outline the third and latest version of a proposal to redevelop almost 33 acres at Ogden and Adams Street owned by the Institute of Basic Life Principles.

Ryan Companies presented its first plan for a 330,000-square foot, 262-unit complex to the village board in January of 2020. A revised concept went to the plan commission in June of last year, but the company temporarily suspended its request in July. The firm was back before the village board with a new iteration last September but withdrew it in October after residents and trustees offered strong objections.

“Over the last 19 months, we have been listening and adjusting and listening and adjusting,” Erickson said.

The number of total units has been reduced from 267 to 245, and the main building is now 40,000 square feet smaller, he said. Changing the building’s orientation has provided greater setbacks along Ogden Avenue, increasing them from 50 feet to 114 feet and even 181 feet in some areas.

“The view from Ogden Avenue — it’s going to appear much smaller,” he said.

The new plan also calls for a 12-acre park with 10 public parking spaces and a pedestrian path along Adams Street.

“If and when something gets developed to the north, we’d provide that pedestrian connection to the space,” Erickson said.

The developer would like to add a left turn lane on Adams for drivers looking to exit the property and head east on Ogden Avenue.

“We’ll work with IDOT to get that approved,” Erickson said.

The company will waive the facility’s membership fee for the first year for Hinsdale residents, saving them $4,000 to $15,000, he said. He also pointed to an internship partnership with Hinsdale High School District 86 as another benefit of the development. The $100 million private investment in the village will provide $20 million in property tax revenue over the next 20 years to District 86 and Community Consolidated Elementary District 181 without generating any additional students.

“We are proud to present this plan,” he said. “We feel like it has improved significantly since the fall. We feel like it is respectful to the neighbors.

“We respectfully ask for your referral to the plan commission,” he added. “We would really like to get in the process and get to the plan commission and that public hearing.”

Village President Tom Cauley was the first to respond, saying he supports a senior living facility as an appropriate use of the site. But the 6- to 8-percent reduction in density is not enough.

“I was thinking something like a 30- to 40-percent reduction,” he said. “I do think it’s just too dense.”

The left-turn lane is a critical part of the plan, he said, indicating he would like to see IDOT agree to the lane before the village would approve the development.

“I just don’t think we punt on it and say, ‘I hope it works out,’ ” he said.

When asked about allowing ingress and egress only off Ogden, Erickson said Ryan Companies asked IDOT about the possibility.

“They don’t want additional curb cuts there,” he said.

Other village board members agreed they support the concept of a senior living facility at the site. Trustee Michelle Fischer said it would be nice to be able to transition a parent from independent to assisted living to memory care in town, if necessary.

“I think there’s just some nuances we have to figure out, especially traffic,” she said.

Residents who attended the meeting — many of whom stood with protest signs outside village hall before it began — were not happy with the revised proposal, either.

Eric Missil, a resident of Chval Drive in Oak Brook, said the building will be three times the size of a Home Depot or Lowe’s.

“That’s nuts,” he said. “We don’t want a building that big.”

Robert Ludwig, who lives on Bonnie Brae in Hinsdale, said the property is a treasure to the western suburbs and encouraged trustees to think of its best possible use.

“I don’t have the solution but I know there are alternatives,” he said.

Trustees are scheduled to vote on whether to refer the project to the plan commission at their Aug. 10 meeting.

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean