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Kiva to seek Kane County approval

CAMPTON HILLS – Residents this week cheered when the Campton Hills Village Board denied annexation to an alcohol and substance abuse facility, but the 4-2 vote has not thwarted such plans for the former Glenwood School.

Steven Elrod, an attorney representing Kiva Recovery, said Wednesday that his client plans to take its case to Kane County.

“My client was disappointed because it presented a highly professional, fact-based proposal with significant benefits for the village,” Elrod said.

“However, we respect the decision of the Village Board. They exercised their discretion, as it has the right to do in matters of annexation. We regret that a majority of them were not able to separate fact from fear. The objectors raised numerous unfounded fears while we presented facts that were backed up by expert testimony. Our intention is to present the same professional, fact-based case to Kane County.”

Elrod said Kiva will proceed immediately.

Tim Harbaugh, executive director of the Kane County Department of Facilities, Development and Environmental Resources, said Kiva had not contacted the county as of early Wednesday afternoon.

Kiva asked Campton Hills for annexation and a special-use permit. Annexation would not be an issue at the county level.

Some citizens publicly supported Kiva at village meetings, but the opponents were more aggressive in mounting a campaign against the facility. Objectors circulated anti-Kiva literature at meetings, left fliers on car windshields, created an anti-Kiva website and a few even hired lawyers to fight the issue.

Many residents asked for an advisory referendum, but Trustee Mike Millette – who voted against the annexation – said it wasn’t needed.

“I consider the postcard survey to be statistically significant,” he said before Tuesday’s vote. The survey, sent to households with the December newsletter, indicated about 75 percent of respondents opposed Kiva. The survey had a response rate of about 42 percent.

Trustee John Strauss, who favored Kiva with Trustee Jim Kopec, said Kiva was a worthwhile facility. He described the opposition as a not-in-my-backyard mentality and said the majority isn’t always right. Having Kiva in the village could be financially beneficial, especially if state funding changes, he said.

“If we vote no,” Strauss said, “… we lose the right to negotiate.”

Campton Hills negotiated 33 protections and benefits. Conditions included a more than $7 million financial benefit to the village over the 20-year annexation agreement, and they limited Kiva to 96 patients who would receive treatment for only alcohol and substance abuse. The village also required Kiva to regularly perform drug testing on employees and patients and provide 24-hour, on-site security when patients are on campus.

With traditional zoning, Harbaugh said, the county has the ability to make applicants commit to various conditions. However, the county would focus on zoning-related issues, which is more limited than the authority the village had with its annexation agreement.

After Tuesday’s vote, village President Patsy Smith told the several dozen citizens in attendance that although they got what they wanted, consequences – such as county approval – could follow.

“Time will tell the impact of last night’s decision based upon the petitioner’s future actions,” she said Wednesday.

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