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Zoning Board Gives Nod to Proposed Group Home

Plan moves on to Group Home Commission for next round of discussions.

The city's Planning and Zoning board expressed support on Tuesday for a new group care home proposed for the southeast corner of Cross Street and Union Avenue.

STARS Family Services, a nonprofit that provides supportive living arrangements developmentally disabled adults, is proposing to build a group home that would house up to 15 people in downtown Wheaton.

STARS officials described a plan two build two single-family homes with a common courtyard. The homes would be completed in stages, with the second home constructed as funding allows.

"It's a house, not an institution," attorney David Bay, who represents STARS, told the board. "It will blend well with the neighborhood. You wouldn't know it's anything other than an ordinary house."

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Board members were pleased with the proposed home's style and how it matched the neighborhood look, and praised STARS' mission. Questions on the project were mainly focused on procedures related to residents and changes to parking and traffic issues.

"What you guys are striving to do is very important," board member Scott Shorney commented.

The board voted unanimously to approve the plan's zoning. The proposal now moves to the Wheaton Group Care Home Commission, but it wasn't immediately clear when that will occur. The City Council would take up the matter after the commission.

STARS provides small supportive living arrangements and related services to developmentally disabled adults of the STARS Disability Ministry of in Wheaton, according to a Wheaton city staff memo.

Since opening its first house in north Wheaton last June, the organization has received applications from more than 20 adults who live with their aging parents, who, “are finding it increasingly difficult to care for their adult children,” according to the memo.

To house up to 15 residents, the facility would be comprised of two housing structures with a courtyard, constructed in two phases, according to the memo. Each home would have an attached two-car garage with a shared driveway off of Union Avenue. Guest, volunteer and staff parking will be on the shared driveway.

Wheaton city staff recommended approval of STARS’ zoning application if the applicant testifies that parking will be adequate for the proposed use, and obtains a license from the Wheaton Group Care Home Commission, according to the memo.

 

Kathy Langlois June 27, 2012 at 12:40 PM
The creative license taken by the zoning board to reinterpret the zoning laws is appalling. This plan is for 9,000 square feet of structure on a single lot and violates the rule that no group homes will be located within in 500 feet of one another. They've chosen to call these two 4500 square foot homes as "structures" rather than what they are--two homes for group living on a single residential lot. The STARS mission is a noble one--and they have a 1-year track record with a single home for four adults. Housing more than a dozen disabled adults together has not been proven and is not in keeping with the residential neighborhood in which this experiment will be allowed. I'm disappointed with the zoning board's rude dismissal of neighbor objections. STARS--we support you and your mission. However, we feel strongly that you should reconsider and build a single family structure and continue to build your track record with four adults in single houses within residential neighborhoods. This is too much.
Wheaton Watcher August 17, 2012 at 03:48 AM
A good use for unused space. Congrats on a hard decision Zoning Board.
Julie Smith November 20, 2012 at 06:20 PM
I am sure that you do not understand that the state of Illinois owes most facilities in Illinois 9 months of payments for services already provided. This model is way more cost effective. When the state finally gets there act together maybe we can look into doing smaller settings. I have two facilities in Illinois. One is a 16 bed and one is an 8 bed both are included in the community without any issues. You have to look at the big picture.

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