Planning and Zoning Commission Approves Avenida

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A 7-2 vote gave Avenida Senior Living a pass through the Planning and Zoning Commission at its latest meeting.

This comes six months after the proposal first came before the commission, when the 175-unit complex was met with some resistance from residents, who had concerns about the bulk of the structure, high density of residences, and lack of sufficient parking.

Avenida has since worked to address those concerns. A brand new design has reduced the bulk of the structure and the number of units to 146, with 1.53 parking spaces per unit.

But even with these changes, variances were still necessary for unit density and parking, which didn’t sit well with some.

“We’re most concerned that they’re asking for variances against city code,” said Naperville resident Ken Bochenski. “The city code was established for a reason, why are we granting variances?”

“There is no hardship here and the criteria for any of the variances in this particular case is not met,” said Planning and Zoning Commissioner Robert Williams, who one of the two commissioners who voted against the proposal.

The developer argued the variances are justified by the property’s use as a senior housing complex, rather than a traditional multifamily apartment.

“There’s going to be very little impact to the broader community because of the demographic and the total population generated by the community,” said Russ Whitaker, a partner with Rosanova and Whitaker, Ltd. and Avenida’s legal counsel. “Where you might see 2 people per residential unit in a typical multifamily apartment, you’re going to see 1 to 1.25 people per dwelling unit in an age-restricted community such as this.”

The majority agreed, saying Naperville’s code for multifamiliy residences doesn’t line up with the unique needs of an age-restricted property, and agreeing the development would be low-impact.

“I feel that the option for a conventional, code-compliant project would be a more impactful development to your neighborhood than what’s being proposed, and I will be supporting the project,” said Planning and Zoning Commissioner Carrier Hansen.

The plan now moves to city council for final approval.

Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.