Developer, New Lenox Village Board spar over senior housing plan
By Erin Gallagher For The Herald-News June 12, 2012 7:54AM
Updated: July 19, 2012 6:03AM
NEW LENOX — In a heated exchange, developer Bill Bolker made a last-ditch effort to convince the New Lenox Village Board that his Calistoga senior housing project is a good idea. However, the board wasn’t buying what Bolker was selling.
Instead of winning them over, he may have dug his hole deeper by accusing them of not supporting much-needed senior housing.
“Bill, you’re reaching,” Trustee Annette Bowden said. “Don’t go there.”
The board has unanimously supported senior housing.
The Bristol Meadows senior housing was on a larger parcel that was already zoned residential. The opposition to the Calistoga project is its location, board members have repeatedly stated for several months. The property is zoned commercial. Changing it to a residential zoning to accommodate senior housing would eliminate the possibility of sales tax revenue.
Mayor Tim Baldermann said Bolker had entered into a 20-year annexation agreement where the developer already earned large tax incentives and other benefits. Now, Bolker is asking the board to alter that contract, which arguably could disturb the other components of it.
Trustee Keith Madsen said it would be like opening a “can of worms.”
“As a longtime resident of New Lenox, I am slightly disappointed, actually greatly disappointed by the actions of this board,” Bolker said.
Trustee David Smith had previously suggested another parcel in the same area that already is zoned appropriately. Bolker said that property is not an option because it is in foreclosure with a $4 million mortgage. He called the Calistoga location shovel-ready.
During the public hearings, numerous residents voiced opposition. The board is set to vote on the issue June 25.
“I will guarantee we will wind up with senior housing someplace,” Smith said.