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Plans for senior housing and hotel get approval from Park Ridge commision

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The Park Ridge Planning and Zoning Commission approved plans for a senior housing development near the Dee Road Metra station and a hotel on Higgins Road in Park Ridge at its meeting on Tuesday. The plans were approved unanimously, with minor changes.

The commission approved a four-story, 24-unit senior housing development at 819-825 Busse Highway, Park Ridge, on the condition that the developer include some affordable units, among other changes to the developer’s original proposal. The commission also approved plans for a four-story, 112-guest-room Hilton hotel at 1440 Higgins Road, Park Ridge.

The plans received approval from the commission in an arduous three-and-a-half-hour meeting, during which commissioners and public commenters gave their opinions that effected changes to the respective developer’s original plans. According to Community Preservation and Development Director Drew Awsumb, the next step for the developments would be to get approval from the Park Ridge City Council at its June 17 meeting.

Both developments were sent to the Planning and Zoning Commission as a Planned Unit Development, which typically means that a developer needs to provide some type of public benefit to the city to get approval for exceptions from the city’s zoning code, according to Awsumb

According to the senior housing development’s applicant, Paul Kolpak, the development’s ground floor will include parking spaces, a communal kitchen, dining room, community room, restroom, exercise room, lobby, vestibule and parcel room. An additional 24 parking spaces will be behind the building facing the alley.

Kolpak said the remaining floors will be identical. The 24 units will be split into 18 two-bedroom and 6 three-bedroom units.  The units will have modern amenities, including individual heating and cooling and washers and dryers, he said.

To rent an apartment from the development, a renter must be over the age of 62. However, Kolpak said the project is not categorized as a senior development. “There really aren’t any employees in the building. There may be a part-time staff here or there, but that’s the extent of it,” he said.

Kolpak said the development offered several public benefits, including adding pervious surfaces in a neighborhood with habitual flooding. “This development provides on a 32,000 square foot site almost 14,000 square feet of landscaped space… We see that as a benefit to the local area and to the public because it does help with things like storm water management,” Kolpak said.

Kolpak also said that the development goes above and beyond in making all of its housing units adaptable for people with disabilities. The city’s code requires 20% of the units to be adaptable. “All the bathrooms have a full turning radius for wheelchairs, blocks installed in the walls for grab bars and all the doors are the appropriate width for all the units to be adaptable.”

The commission and public commenters spoke at length for nearly an hour and a half about the project. After the applicant agreed to some changes suggested by the commission, the plan was approved on the condition that the development’s storm water detention be built out to 130% of what is required by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, that the development include three affordable housing units, that the facades of the building not be higher than 40 feet, that the driveway to the underground garage be widened to 24 feet and for the development’s landscaping to meet the requirements of the zoning ordinance.

The rendering of a proposed Tru by Hilton hotel at 1440 Higgins Road, Park Ridge. Plans for the hotel were approved by the Park Ridge Planning and Zoning Commission in May and will be up for approval from the Park Ridge City Council in June. (City of Park Ridge)

The Hilton hotel development, submitted by MDSA Properties as a Tru by Hilton hotel, also received some initial pushback from the commission. The submitted proposal asked for multiple exceptions to the zoning ordinance, including signage code exceptions, parking minimum requirements and building height.

Some residents were unenthused to hear that a hotel was planning on coming to Park Ridge. Residents Frank and Kathy Gazzolo submitted their public comment saying that the hotel would be too noisy, cause congestion, affect views and negatively affect property values. “We would prefer a no higher than three-story residential condominium development,” the two wrote.

The commission approved the hotel development on the condition that access to Peterson road be cut off and that MDSA make a $25,000 donation to Park Ridge for gateway signage. The commission granted some exceptions to signage in the zoning ordinance.

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