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Burr Ridge approves Alzheimer’s memory care center plan

Artist's rendering of the proposed Anthem Memory Care facility in Burr Ridge. | Courtesy of architects CB Two of Salem, Ore.
Artist's rendering of the proposed Anthem Memory Care facility in Burr Ridge. | Courtesy of architects CB Two of Salem, Ore.

Burr Ridge land that less than a year ago was proposed for two hotels will now be used as a live-in care facility for seniors with memory issues.

Anthem Memory Care is planning a 48,200-square-foot facility at 15W150 S. Frontage Road, the same parcel that last August was proposed for construction of Hampton and Fairfield inns, but failed to gain village approval.

Burr Ridge Village Board members this week gave the care center proposal their unanimous approval after getting assurances from village staff that water retention in the area will actually improve as a result of the project.

Several residents of the neighborhood attended Monday’s board meeting, not to oppose the project, but to ensure that the flood-prone area will not get any worse because of the project.

“I want to thank the residents for coming forward about this senior housing project,” said Trustee Guy Franzese. “I think we have a more plausible plan that what we saw (for this property) before.”

Anthem Memory Care, based in Oregon, already operates two similar facilities in Colorado and one in California.

Concerns were raised about the Burr Ridge project’s storm water impact in the adjacent 75th Street and Drew Avenue area and whether it would push water down to 79th Street and Drew.

“When a storm does happen, where is that water (from the senior care center) going to end up?” resident John Syznal asked. “Is it going to end up on 79th Street? That is always a street that floods.”

“My property floods, it has flooded for 60 years,” said Trustee Leonard Ruzak, who lives near 79th and Drew. “It is the story of the neighborhood.”

Ruzak said it can take from four hours to eight hours for water to flow out of the area after a heavy rain.

Village engineer Paul May said the senior care project will hold storm water and release it into the village storm sewers over time. Water currently just flows off of the undeveloped property, May said.

May said there could be some rains where 79th and Drew does see more water as a result of the project, but that will not normally be the case.

“A balance needs to be found,” May said, regarding storm water flow for this and other projects. “People who live by (the proposed Anthem facility) want the water gone efficiently and permanently. People downstream have a different concern . . . But, in my opinion, I feel this project will not negatively impact residents.”

May noted that most of Burr Ridge’s development has occurred in the past 30 years when more flood-protection measures and regulations have been put in place. Because of that, he said, the community does not have a lot of the same areas being hit with crippling flooding.

“In older communities — Hinsdale, Clarendon Hills, Lisle, Glen Ellyn — people have to be evacuated from their homes,” May said.

Syznal said the frequency of major storms is troubling and a reason for the village to take flood-proofing measures.

“We use to have 100-year floods. Then (those same rains) became 50-year floods,” Syznal said. “Now, every year we have significant flooding.”

Trustee John Manieri agreed, saying criteria for 100-year rains need to be reworked. “I feel these are happening a lot more frequently,” Manieri noted.

He said the village needs to address flooding in residential areas. While the village may not have people being taken from their homes in lifeboats, flooding still “adversely affects residents,” Manieri said.

Former village trustee Dolores Cizek, who now lives in La Grange but frequently attends board meetings, felt the project could impact the value of homes in the area.

“Who is going to want to live across the street from an Alzheimer’s facility?” she asked Village Board members when the proposal was being discussed.

Bob Grela, a member of the village’s Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals, said the proposed one-story care center will fit in much better with the existing neighborhood than the planned hotels would have.

“We think it will complement and integrate well with the neighborhood,” Grela said.

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