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Wheaton Zoning Board to Revisit Senior Housing Proposal at Courthouse Square

Wheaton's Planning and Zoning Board meets for a second public hearing for Courthouse Square development Tuesday night.

The Wheaton Planning and Zoning Board will hold a public hearing Tuesday for a proposed senior housing development at Courthouse Square in downtown Wheaton.

is proposing to build the senior living facility on the downtown property after an economic collapse in 2005 hindered the city-approved plans to build 50 townhomes and 206 condos in four buildings.

To date, one 50-unit building, six condos in the restored courthouse and 11 townhomes have been completed, according to the memo.

The firm is requesting city approval to change the approved planned unit development (PUD) to allow construction of a 167-unit senior housing development, according to a city memo.

Parkside Management Services would operate the facility at 250 Naperville Road and 245 Willow Avenue, which would contain 55 independent living units, 84 assisted living units and 28 memory care units. The building’s design would be consistent with the architecture of the existing building, and would contain two outdoor dining spaces on the ground floor, according to the memo.

In 2004, Focus Development and Airhart Construction partnered to form Courthouse Land Development, LLC to purchase and develop the Courthouse Square property, Tim Anderson, president and owner of Focus Development told the zoning board at an Apr. 24 hearing.

As a result of the financial crisis, traditional construction loans are less available, Anderson said at the hearing, and as conditions continue to worsen, he said the current condominium market would not support further condo development.

Senior housing, though, would fit the developer's criteria for a project, and would be “marketable and financeable,” he said.

Michael McCarthy, chairman and CEO of Parkside Management Services—the firm that would operate the senior living facility—said the senior population in Wheaton in growing.

"The Baby Boomers are coming," he said.

More than 26,000 households with residents ages 70 and older live within 15 miles of Courthouse Square, he said. Currently, 11 percent of Wheaton’s population is 65 and older.

“Between 2010 and 2015, seniors in this category (65 and older) represent the greatest growth among all households in the Wheaton area,” McCarthy said.

According to the memo, the proposed amendment to the approved development plan for Courthouse Square is a “major change,” that does not conform with the approved PUD.

“The Zoning Ordinance requires PUD’s to meet certain objectives. A PUD should promote harmonious architectural styles, building forms, building massing and building relationships, both within the development and between the development and its surroundings. The PUD should also promote diversity in the types of developments permitted, so as to provide a variety of living, working and other environments attractive to all ages and income levels.”

City staff recommends approval of the application, with the following conditions:

  1. Applicant provides testimony regarding how the development complies with the “Minimum Usable Open Space” requirements of the Zoning Ordinance
  2. Applicant addresses how kitchen venting/mechanicals will be screened
  3. Applicant provides sufficient testimony that adequate excess parking capacity exists to accommodate the shortage of spaces provided per code, and the utilization of the 92 lower level parking spaces
  4. Applicant submits a signage plan, indicating the style and content of the signage
  5. Applicant provides testimony addressing how and where the move-in/move-out process will occur
  6. Applicant provides testimony addressing how and where trash and recycling will be collected
  7. Applicant provides testimony addressing the projected use and importance of he drop-off/pickup lanes
  8. The subdivision plat of Courthouse Square recorded in 2005 is revised to indicate the lot consolidation for the proposed amendment

The Planning and Zoning Board meets for its second public hearing on the development at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 8 at City Hall, 303 Wesley Street, Wheaton. Parties opposing the proposed development will present their arguments at the meeting.

John Mihas May 08, 2012 at 01:13 PM
City council should have never approved this project, know the developer wants to change the terms. Feel bad for those who bought into the condos, but unfortunately the city will save Airhart and Foucs fron there stupidity.
Sharon Brockmeier May 08, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Parkside paints a rosy picture of a great senior living facility. However, history shows that out of the last 7 completed, he has sold 6 of them. Parkside admits to wanting to flip this facility several years following completion. Therefore, the true future of this property is unknown. Does Wheaton really want to take that chance of ruining such a prime location, just to save the developers business venture?
Tom Mouhelis May 08, 2012 at 05:24 PM
John, you might be surprised.
Molly R. O'Brien May 08, 2012 at 07:14 PM
You don't have the votes Tom. Mayor won!
Charlotte Eriksen (Editor) May 08, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Thanks for commenting, Sharon. What did the properties become when sold? Same type of place, just different owner?
Lisle Watchdog May 13, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Will the project be rental or a buy-in continuing care facility? If rental, will it be a partially low-income government subsidized facility?

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