11 months ago


The Wilmette Beacon 110917

14 | November 9, 2017 |

14 | November 9, 2017 | The wilmette beacon sound off A Word From The (Former) President Artis and HODC: Let’s get together, yeah, yeah, yeah John Jacoby Contributing Columnist It’s one thing for Village government to be “wrong” when making decisions that can be rescinded or modified with no long term adverse consequences. It’s far different for Village government to be “wrong” when approving a Planned Unit Development. A PUD is typically a large and costly construction project involving a private developer who’s granted exceptions to regular zoning controls in exchange for “a public benefit to the Village.” Once the PUD is built, there’s no going back. A multi-million dollar PUD built today will be around for generations. Let’s shift from generalities to specifics. This week (7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7), the Wilmette Plan Commission is considering a request by Artis Senior Living, LLC for preliminary approval of a PUD. (The Village Board has the final word on PUD requests). Artis is a family-owned, for-profit operator of senior facilities that focus on memory care. It’s a growing national business that recently entered the Chicago-area market. I know of no reason why Wilmette wouldn’t welcome a well-designed Artis facility at a suitable location. Artis has purchased (subject to zoning approval) the Wil-Ridge Plaza near the southwest corner of Wilmette Avenue and Ridge Road. It proposes to demolish the Plaza and build a three-story structure with 64 studio-type units for seniors with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The proposed building isn’t allowed by regular zoning. It would be too tall and too dense. It would have no first floor retail component as regular zoning contemplates. Artis asserts that it should receive PUD approval, despite these very significant exceptions to regular zoning, because its project would provide “a public benefit to the Village.” What does this term mean? According to the Zoning Ordinance, it means a benefit that’s “substantial” — commensurate with the zoning exceptions granted. And it refers to “design characteristics and amenities” incorporated into the project — something of value to the general public that regular zoning doesn’t require. What “public benefit” would the Artis project provide? Artis argues that its proposed facility would provide a critical service needed by a growing number of Wilmette residents and parents of Wilmette residents. In addition, because Artis is a for-profit business, the property would remain on the tax rolls. And finally, the proposed facility, unlike the existing Plaza, would comply with current storm water management controls. I’m underwhelmed by this so-called “public benefit.” The Plaza is destined to be redeveloped, and any for-profit development would pay property taxes and comply with storm water management controls. While a memory care facility would benefit the senior population it serves, there’s nothing in Artis’s proposal that promises any kind of preference for Wilmette-connected seniors. Moreover, this “benefit” is offset by the Village’s loss of sales tax revenue resulting from a totally non-retail development. Does this mean I oppose Artis’s proposal? Not at all, but in my opinion, the “public benefit” claimed by Artis is insufficient to warrant the significant zoning exceptions it seeks. So I have a suggestion for the Plan Commission: The property to the west of the Plaza (the former American Legion post) is also Please see jacoby, 15 OPEN SUNDAY 1 TO 3 PM 1051 Seneca Road | Wilmette Enchanting Home... with a graceful flow through the main level’s spacious rooms. Included are a handsome library with fireplace, a gracious living room, a formal dining room, and a cheerful sun room. But the highlight is the kitchen/breakfast/ family room area. Its architectural detail, including custom millwork and lighting, is awe-inspiring. The plentiful windows overlook a spectacular stone patio and an extra deep yard with mature trees and gorgeous plantings. Five bedrooms and three baths on the second level make this home a truly special place for entertaining and creating happy memories. Could this be your new address? ASKING PRICE $1,739,000 MUGGSY JACOBY 847.924.3811 © 2017 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently operated subsidiary of HomeServices of America, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, and a franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.® Equal Housing Opportunity. sound off the wilmette beacon | November 9, 2017 | 15 Social snapshot Top Web Stories From as of Nov. 6 1. Girls volleyball: New Trier survives Niles West scare in sectional semis 2. Dining Out: FOMO brings pop-up concept 3. 10 Questions with Cassidy Coughlin, Loyola girls swimming and diving 4. Girls volleyball: New Trier back on top after sectional win over Hersey 5. Girls volleyball: New Trier falls just short of final four Become a member: Romona Elementary School posted this photo on Oct. 30 with the caption: “Halloween started early today for some of our youngest students! It is so fun to see all of the creative costumes!! #RomonaR- OCKS” Like The Wilmette Beacon: “So proud our captain Shannon Kearney! New conference record in the 100 back & awarded MCAC SENIOR SWIMMER OF THE YEAR!!!” @LoyolaSwimDive, Rambler Swim & Dive, posted on Oct. 28 Follow The Wilmette Beacon: @wilmettebeacon go figure 17 An intriguing number from this week’s edition Age of Wilmette Boy Scout Sean Crawford, who did work at Thornwood Prairie Preserve, Page 3 from the editor Veterans Day gives us a chance to thank heroes Eric DeGrechie My grandfather was one of four brothers to serve in World War II. Though he passed away 20 years ago, I still think of him all the time, especially around Veterans Day. The holiday lands on Saturday, Nov. 11, this year. Doing the quick math, Wilmette veteran Myron Eberle, 94, was roughly the same Letters to the Editor Distressed over youth behavior in North Shore I was walking my dogs on Sheridan Road last week and came upon an 80-year-old female friend who had just celebrated her birthday. I had not seen her at the health club for a while and asked if she had been traveling. What she told me seems to be a recurring theme in the North Shore. She was walking along Sheridan Road when a group of New Trier male athletes were running toward her along the sidewalk. In the past, she would stop on the grassy age as my grandfather during WWII. While my grandfather was stationed in the Pacific, Eberle was in Belgium for the Battle of the Bulge. Hearing Eberle’s war stories, as told to reporter Hilary Anderson in this week’s edition, was riveting to say the least. “It was a killing zone,” Eberle said. “We were in straight combat from Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, to about Jan. 21.” As someone who never served in the military, I can only speculate about the effect such an experience can have on a solider’s mind not just in the days and years immediately following the battle, but also all of these years later. Eberle was among a group of WWII veterans side of the sidewalk and allow the athletes to run past, only to be clipped on the shoulder by one of the athletes. They were running straight at her and she didn’t have enough time to get off the sidewalk. She tripped and fell, injuring her shoulder. Two of the athletes stopped to help her get up. I too have experienced this behavior from New Trier students. I am an athletically fit female in my early 60s. I walk my dogs along Sheridan Road and have been nearly obliterated by speeding bicycles traveling on the sidewalk honored by the Chicago Blackhawks Nov. 5 at the United Center. In a special ceremony, Eberle and a group of more than 30 veterans received recognition during the playing of the national anthem with an on-ice military salute. The Blackhawks have always done a nice job of celebrating local heroes and this was the case again here. While it’s important to say thanks to veterans year-round, let’s all make a point to especially do so at this time of year with Veterans Day coming up. The number of surviving WWII veterans gets smaller and smaller every day. Make sure to thank them because you might not get another chance to do so. in the mornings or trampled by male and female athletes in the afternoon. I have experienced too many close calls. What happened to pedestrians having the right of way? New Trier students need a class on civility and respect. It is apparent to me they lack these values. Something needs to be done before it’s too late and someone dies from hitting their head on the pavement. There is not more demoralizing than being marginalized. Janice Kahn Kenilworth resident jacoby From Page 14 being redeveloped. Housing Opportunity Development Corp. has applied for a PUD to develop affordable housing at that site. Both PUD applications are now undergoing Plan Commission review. While Artis and HODC have talked, they haven’t gotten together, even though coordinated planning would undoubtedly improve both projects -- placement and design of buildings, exterior and interior traffic flow, curb cut locations, parking, open space, and landscaping. A coordinated plan might provide “a public benefit to the Village” that would justify the significant zoning exceptions that both Artis and HODC want. So Plan Commission, just tell Artis and HODC, in the words of the Hayley Mills hit song, “Let’s get together, yeah, yeah, yeah!” Sound Off Policy Editorials and columns are the opinions of the author. Pieces from 22nd Century Media are the thoughts of the company as a whole. The Wilmette Beacon encourages readers to write letters to Sound Off. All letters must be signed, and names and hometowns will be published. We also ask that writers include their address and phone number for verification, not publication. Letters should be limited to 400 words. 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