GENEVA – The Kane County Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously April 9 recommended approval for a petition for a day school on the Marklund at Mill Creek campus in Blackberry Township near Geneva.
After meeting with neighbors concerned about the height of its proposed three-story building, Marklund reduced its request to a two-story building.
Marklund is a residential facility for 96 adults with profound developmental disabilities.
But this petition is for an amendment to its original planned unit development for a year-round school from 8:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Marklund CEO Gil Fonger said it would serve 30 children who are profoundly disabled, non-ambulatory and non-verbal, and 36 children on the autism spectrum, from ages 3 to 21.
“The third story was for potential expansion,” Fonger said. “We had first designed this for Phase 1 and Phase 2. But it’s a relatively small site and so we realized to make room for Phase 2, we’d have a lot of compromises, so we decided to keep it Phase 1.”
All the classrooms will be on the first and second floor, so after talking to neighbors, they determined two floors would be sufficient, Fonger said.
Kane County Board member Drew Frasz, R-Elburn, said Fonger met with neighbors as did he, to address their concerns for the size of the building, dumpsters, garbage pickup, parking, traffic and stop signs.
“Marklund made some major concessions,” Frasz said. “Removing the third floor was No. 1. … I’d say at this point, we’re pretty much down to the parking issue and discussion of landscaping.”
In particular, there is parking for overnight staff, but Fonger said they would figure out how to restrict it so employees' cars would face the facility and not the nearby homes.
Neighbor David Johnson, who lives in the 39W500 block of South Hyde Park, testified that his concern was for two blind corners on a winding road coming from Main Street.
Johnson also questioned the adequacy of the turn lanes from Main Street.
Kelly Connolly of Sam Schwartz Engineering, said the turn lanes are adequate for the site. Connolly said the traffic to and from the school would be before or after peak morning and evening traffic.
Connolly said they recommended stop signs on the private drives through the campus and the striping for the stop sign at Wyatt Drive.
“I live there,” Johnson said. “You better slow down before you go down that corner.”
Frasz said he would see if a four-way stop is possible at Hyde Park and Wyatt Drive, which is currently a two-way stop.
The ZBA’s recommendation will go to the Development Committee at its May 21 meeting, giving Marklund, the neighbors and transportation officials an opportunity to address the parking and traffic issues.
The measure would then go to the June 11 Kane County Board meeting for final action.
"We are very happy to have received a unanimous vote from the Kane County Zoning Board tonight," Fonger stated in an email. “We continue to be committed to working with our neighbors, as much as possible, to soften the impact of this new educational resource for children throughout the greater Kane County area.”