BULL VALLEY – Some residents of Bull Valley want the village to hamper efforts from a Lemont-based company that hopes start an alcohol and drug rehabilitation center.
Stark opposition to the male-only group home pushed a public meeting toward three hours and ultimately forced officials to table the issue.
Representatives from La Voie Inc. appeared in front of the Bull Valley zoning board Monday night for a public hearing on a special permit for a group home for adolescent and adult males recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.
About 50 people attended – mainly in opposition of the center – and public comment ran long enough that the board will continue discussion on Dec. 2, Village Clerk Phyllis Keinz said.
Residents voiced concerns about declining property values, noise and traffic that would come with the business, Keinz said.
Todd Scheel, who lives next door, said the effect on property values is a main concern, but it's not the only thing he's worried about. The house, he said, could be detrimental to the neighborhood's safety.
"You will do stupid things to get drugs, to get money," Scheel said.
Kyle Oremus, president of La Voie Inc., said that perception was part of an unfortunate stigma that surrounds addiction.
"The fact of the matter is this disease affects everyone from all walks of life, no matter what your socioeconomic status is," she said.
The Bull Valley center would be the first opened by Oremus and under the La Voie company name. It would be located on about 25 acres currently zoned as agricultural at 9414 Route 120.
Oremus said the building and surroundings were a large part of the draw toward Bull Valley. She was looking to create a quiet, secluded and "home-like" feel for the center, she said.
"The property is perfectly suited for this treatment center," Oremus said.
In the early stages, La Voie would serve about 12 patients, as young as age 12, who would live full time at the home. Over time, the center would expand to hold 22 patients.
The company plans to hire about 15 people in the first year, and keep staff on-site 24 hours a day.