Senior Housing: Village board looks at assisted living facility in residential subdivision

By Megan Craig for TribLocal

The Gurnee Village Board on Monday will consider granting a special use permit for an assisted living facility in a residential neighborhood – one that has been operating for about a year without the proper licensing.

In December the Plan Commission voted 5-2 to recommend that the board approve an addition and allow Theresa’s Home Care to operate out of a two-story home in Gurnee’s Chelsea Crossing subdivision.

The business first came to the village’s attention after a May 911 call to the residence for a woman who had died of natural causes while living there. Paramedics discovered the woman to be one of about a dozen elderly people living at the facility, which isn’t yet licensed by the state’s health department.

Since the initial contact with the village, owner Theresa Bicok has “taken the necessary steps to comply” with Gurnee’s zoning ordinance and the state’s licensing requirements, according to a board memo from Village Administrator Jim Hayner.

Although the Plan Commission eventually voted in favor of Bicok’s proposal, it was a contentious topic for the group. Members questioned the facility’s unlicensed status with the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Commission Chairman James Sula accused Bicok of “flying under the radar” by not going through the proper channels before opening the business. He and Commissioner Patrick Drennan cast the dissenting votes, primarily citing issues with the use of the building as a business in an otherwise residential area.

Neighbors in Chelsea Crossing also raised concerns about the proposed size of the facility, and its location within the subdivision.

At the village board meeting, Bicok and her lawyer, John Wojteczko, will have an opportunity to make a brief presentation and answer trustees’ questions before the board votes on the item, said Assistant Village Manager Patrick Muetz.

Board members have also been given a summary and minutes from the plan commission meetings, Muetz said.

Under an amended proposal, Bicok is requesting a permit to house 24 residents in 12 bedrooms. Her proposal also accounts for parking and installation of an elevator for the 6,100 square foot home, which boasts two main floors and a basement.


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