Parkview Gardens public hearing March 25

Caledonia residents file into Village Hall's meeting room Monday, the site of another packed public hearing regarding a planned but-not-yet approved development in the village. More than 50 attended Monday's Plan Commission meeting, during which a public hearing was held regarding a proposed rezoning that could allow Parkview Gardens to expand.

CALEDONIA — It was a somewhat familiar sight in the Village Hall on Monday. More than 50 people attended a Plan Commission public hearing to discuss the proposed expansion of the Parkview Senior-Living Community senior-living complex on Douglas Avenue.

Developer Alf McConnell wants a 15.2-acre plot to be rezoned, which would allow four more apartment buildings and eight smaller, two-unit duplexes to be constructed.

The Plan Commission again punted on making a decision Monday, saying that more information is needed before approving or denying McConnell’s request.

“We need to do some thinking on this one,” Village President Jim Dobbs said after the meeting.

Another public hearing on the proposal is expected to be held at the next Plan Commission meeting, which is scheduled for April 29.

Current status

There are already four senior-living apartment buildings in the complex, and a fifth has had approvals to be built since 2007, although construction hasn’t started on it. McConnell said funding has not come together for that fifth building.

McConnell said that he wants construction to begin as soon as possible, contingent upon village approval and funding.

“It’s taken 20 years to get where we are now,” he said. “It could be another 25 years or more before the campus is fully built out.”

Dating back to last November, McConnell has been requesting for the 15.2 acres already owned by Parkview to be rezoned. But residents of 4½ Mile Road, and others who live nearby, have continually criticized the plan.

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For it, against it

A busload of Parkview residents were driven to Monday’s public hearing, during which they applauded their home and the services and the community available there. Several of them said that there will be a need for senior housing in the coming years. U.S. life expectancy, according to the World Bank, has grown from just shy of 70 years in the 1968 to nearly 79 in 2016.

“We’re living longer. We need a place to go,” said Robert Petricek, a 75-year-old who lives in Parkview.

Opponents of the plan, mainly those living on 4½ Mile Road, claimed that the new buildings would block the sun from reaching their property.

“This guy (McConnell) wants to put 35-foot buildings in my backyard,” said Eric Zoromskis, who lives on 4½ Mile Road. “Why did I move here? For a gray backyard? No. We moved here for the space and the sun.”

Others echoed a complaint that’s been raised at several meetings since November — that stormwater drainage is poor in the area and houses’ sump pumps are known to run constantly year-round.

Civil Engineer Chris Jackson, working with McConnell, said that drainage problems would be addressed.

Another 4½ Mile homeowner, Diane Tishuk, said that she expects her property value to drop by 14 percent if the buildings are constructed. McConnell disagreed, saying that he thinks his development would raise neighboring property values.

Dobbs asked both of them to come back to the April meeting with evidence to back up their claims.

Several other items are expected to be addressed April 29, at the Commission’s request:

  • Lighting — 4½ Mile Road residents claim that lights from Parkview already shine into their windows at night. They believe the problem will be worsened if additional buildings are constructed.
  • Landscaping — Questions like “Will a berm be constructed between Parkview and surrounding homes?” and “What kind of trees will be planted? And where?” need to be addressed.
  • Road access — How will vehicles, particularly emergency vehicles, be able to access the buildings that are further away from 4½ Mile Road and Douglas Avenue?
  • 3-D rendering — Dobbs requested a 3-D rendering that could illustrate how much the proposed buildings would actually affect sunlight reaching surrounding homes.

The proper name of the Parkview Senior-Living Community on Douglas Avenue in Caledonia was incorrect in the initial version of this story. It has been corrected. Additional clarifications have also been made since publication.

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