Proposed Cornerstone home upsets some Minooka residents
By Kris Stadalsky For The Herald-News May 28, 2012 9:44PM
Updated: July 3, 2012 10:39AM
MINOOKA — Some residents in Rivers Edge Landing subdivision are concerned about a group home for mentally disabled boys that is planned for their neighborhood.
Lisa Lindaur, whose home is directly across from the lot Cornerstone Services would like to build on, said that at least 54 residents are upset about the group home and the way the village has handled it.
“Village officials kept us in the dark and lied to us about it,” Lindaur said.
Lindaur said she first contacted Building and Zoning Officer Steve Thornton several months ago about the project.
Lindaur claims Thornton told her he knew nothing about the project and the property would have to be rezoned. If that were the case, neighbors would be notified first. Lindaur said Thornton promised to call her if he got any information about a group home but did not.
“We were completely blindsided by the village,” Lindaur said.
Thornton said he did not know anything about the group home when he spoke with Lindaur.
“At that point I knew nothing (about the group home), it was total news to me,” Thornton said.
Once he was aware of the Cornerstone project, Thornton contacted Village Administrator Dan Duffy and was told to proceed as he would with any single-family home.
Duffy said that Cornerstone Services has gone through the proper administrative process, just like any other homebuilder would be required to do.
Village ordinance allows a single-family home to house up to four non-related persons, Duffy said.
“(Cornerstone) understands they will have some restrictions should the building permit be issued. As long as they are properly zoned, we can’t discriminate, that’s the way it is,” Duffy said.
The other issue, Lindaur said, is the safety of the families that live in Rivers Edge Landing. Neighbors are concerned about having a group of mentally disabled boys living in a single-family home subdivision.
Ben Stortz, CEO of Cornerstone Services, said the plans are to build a home for four to five children with mental disabilities, between the ages of 11 and 17. They will probably be boys, he said.
They are children who need a little more care than a parent can provide for them, he said.
“We have 33 group homes in the area and we have great relationships with the areas,” Stortz said. “They are well maintained and you really don’t know they are there. We are part of the community.”
Lindaur said this is not a case of discrimination.
“It has nothing to do with disability,” she said. “If they had no disabilities I would be just as concerned.”
Homeowner Kristi Laney, in an email to The Herald-News, indicated that Cornerstone tried to get a group home in Channahon but was denied by the village board.
Not so, Village Administrator Joe Pena said. “We have never rejected one of the Cornerstone projects.”
Channahon has a couple Cornerstone Group homes, said Pena, and have not had any major problems with them.
Minooka Police Chief Justin Meyer said the same is true for the Cornerstone adult group home on McEvilly Road in Minooka that has been there for four years. There have been a couple incidences of arguments between residents and assists for ambulance calls, but no other problems.
“It is not a frequent place we visit,” Meyer said.