After not receiving a response to her letter to Mayor Sandra Bury, local resident Sue Andrews attended a recent Village Board meeting to discuss the Anthem project that was recently approved by the village board with what residents were told included various conditions.
Andrews, however, pointed out that what was promised and what is being done at the site at 101st and Major, in a residential neighborhood, are not one in the same.
According to Andrews the differences between the approved plan and the current project, are:
- There is supposed to be a “right turn only” from the facility.
- The trash enclosure for the garbage dumpster was to be relocated to the southeast corner of the property. It is still located on the southwest corner of the site according to the site plan renderings. They noted this and the matter was being brought back to Anthem Memory Care.
- The back-up power generator was to be placed wherever the village specifies (preferably away from the residences), yet it too was located on the southwest corner of the site according to the site plan renderings. Its relocation was also discussed and the matter is being brought back to Anthem Memory Care. Furthermore, it was noted that the required weekly tests should be scheduled during an appropriate time (i.e., not overnight or early morning).
- A cyclone fence was to be used to enclose the retention pond, yet according to the site plan renderings & when questioned last night there is NO fence around the pond.
- At the PD&C meeting held on May 16, 2016 it was advised that the closest portion of the building from the west lot line was to be at a distance of ninety-five (95) feet. Last evening, it was reported that the closest portion of the building is now at roughly seventy-seven (77) feet from the homes to the west. While that distance is still better than originally proposed, it is still eighteen (18) feet closer than what was previously approved by PD&C and village board – and promised to the residents.
- It appears there are different building materials being utilized for the front (facing east) and back (facing residential homes to the west) of the building based upon the minutes from the ADRC meeting held on June 23, 2016. I am not certain if this is for a cost savings to the developer or in an effort of “blend” the building with existing homes. Regardless of the reason, the back of the building definitely has different building materials than the front of the building.
- The patio of the building has a seven and a half (7.5) foot high fence with lattice for the patio which serves as security. Based upon last evening’s meeting, it was stated that the patio fence could not be higher than six (6) foot tall per ordinance. Maybe they need yet another variance granted?
- And finally, during the PD&C public hearing held on March 21, 2016 one of the commissioners questioned the school’s plan for relocating the school buses from the bus depot they are vacating…
Andrews had written to Bury and the Board of Trustees, “It is extremely disheartening that many of the concerns raised by our neighborhood related to this proposed project were either completely dismissed or placated with “commitments” that the representatives of the village, Anthem Memory care and Southwest Chicago Christian School have failed to follow through on.”
Andrews said that the fact that the problems are occurring before groundbreaking on the development shows that the decision makers have a “complete lack of credibility”.
Andrews said that she attended to make sure that the Mayor and board follows through and protect the neighborhood as promised. Andrews said asked who had the responsibility for making sure that the changes agreed to were included.
Village Manager Larry Deetjen, at the request of Bury, responded noting that Anthem would comply but also arguing that some statements by Andrews were “inconsistent with the record”.
Deetjen said that the village doesn’t fence detention ponds and it isn’t a requirement although Anthem is “cognizant of the safety concerns”. He then went into a long description of how detention ponds work.
He also praised the architects and engineers that work for Anthem and said that the company will respond to all the concerns from a factual and legal basis as well as by being a good neighbor.
Recently changes in development plans between the approval at the Planning and Development Commission (PDC) Meeting and the final project has been discussed in various forums, including at a a PDC Meeting. According to the minutes of the November 7th PDC meeting, Commission Chairman Bill Lundy said he “feels that the Commissioners are doing their due diligence but then he will hear that some things can be changed”. Kevin Casey, the PDC Attorney replied stating, “the Village Board of Trustees votes on the P&DC’s recommendations but that the Trustees are the ultimate arbitartors to what will or what will not be in the ordinance.” He added, “there are certain conditions that cannot be placed on ordinances.”
Deetjen and PDC Members have previously incorrectly stated publicly that no changes can be made to plans unless the changes are brought back to the commission.