CAMPTON HILLS – Residents sighed in relief and erupted into celebratory cheers and applause Tuesday when the Campton Hills Village Board denied annexation for an alcohol and substance abuse facility proposed for the former Glenwood School.
Each of the six trustees spoke before the vote, some at great length. They said they took Kiva Recovery’s request seriously and went back and forth on their decision.
“I flipped more times than former governors in their graves,” trustee Jim Kopec said.
He and trustee John Strauss supported Kiva Recovery’s request.
They said financial reasons, the village’s ability to dictate terms in an annexation agreement and – among other factors – research they did on other treatment facilities contributed to their decision.
Both acknowledged that residents feared Kiva’s clients will be dangerous and cause crime.
“The facts don’t coincide with the enormity of the fear,” Strauss said.
Their support was outweighed by nays from trustees Laura Andersen, Susan George, Al Lenkaitis and Mike Millette.
“I feel very confident in my decision tonight,” George told the crowd at Wasco Elementary School.
Andersen said she arrived at her conclusion with a clear mind. She told residents they have to stick together as a community.
“Otherwise, why do we need a village?” she said.
Patrick Griffin, an attorney representing Kiva, said his client was treated fairly and appreciated the process the village provided.
Opponents were aggressive in mounting a campaign against Kiva.
They circulated anti-Kiva literature at meetings, created www.stopkivarehab.com and left fliers on car windshields. Some even hired attorneys to take on the issue.
Before the vote, Steven Elrod, Kiva’s zoning counsel, said his clients went to great lengths to address concerns.
“We have worked tirelessly to accommodate every legitimate concern raised, whether we agree with them or not,” Elrod said.
While the vote wasn’t what they had hoped, he said, his clients appreciated the comments and will take them to heart as they move forward.
He did not indicate what their next step will be.
County Board member Barb Wojnicki said Kiva has not approached the county.
Kiva could ask the county for a special use permit, a process that would involve discussions at four boards or committees and could take at least four months, she said.