New Downers Grove apartment building approved for Oak Trace Senior Living Community

The Oak Trace Senior Living Community is set to further redevelop its Downers Grove campus, despite some complaints from neighbors in nearby Darien.

On Tuesday, the Downers Grove village council unanimously approved Oak Trace’s plans to construct a five-story building featuring 145 independent-living apartments. The V-shaped development would include a one-story commons building that would connect an existing 1994 apartment building and a 2019 health care center.

This second phase of Oak Trace’s recent redevelopment would include a one-story maintenance building in the northeast corner of the property at 200 Village Drive. In addition, the property’s roadways would be readjusted to add a ring road.

The council previously approved plans for a similar 160-unit building proposed in 2017 and new townhouses along the property’s southern border. But those phases of the project were halted last year amid the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Downers Grove Director of Community Development Stan Popovich, the revised apartment building differed enough to warrant Oak Trace to seek the council’s approval again.

Popovich also said Oak Trace would need permission for the revised third phase of its redevelopment, which would involve demolishing existing “patio homes” along its southern border to make way for a series of three-story townhouses.

When the plans were discussed at a July 13 council meeting, some Darien residents living just south of Oak Trace voiced complaints about the existing and proposed construction.

Marie Becker of the Darien Club Owners Association cited the nuisances of excess light and noise from Oak Trace. Darien resident Vincent Onagan specifically took issue with the proximity of Oak Trace buildings next to his home.

“We fully expect that Oak Trace will do the kind of berm work and landscaping to provide an adequate shield on the south side of their property,” Commissioner Rich Kulovany said during Tuesday’s meeting.

Kulovany also clarified his earlier “no” vote against Oak Trace’s second phase of redevelopment in 2017 while he was on the plan commission.

“The rationale was that I felt that at the time that Oak Trace hadn’t given proper notice to the residents who were living in the patio homes,” Kulovany said. “I would trust that they would give those people the right of first refusal in the Phase 3 to move into a townhome.”

Northbrook-based SAS Architects & Planners said Oak Trace’s second phase should be completed by 2024. The building footprint for the proposed townhouses is not finalized and would require approval from both the plan commission and village council to proceed.