I invite you to attend a community meeting to review a proposal to expand an existing residential recovery home at 1715 W. Chase (between Paulina and Clark). The meeting will take place on Tuesday, March 19th, 7:00 p.m., at St. Paul’s Church By the Lake, 7100 N. Ashland (at Estes).
The home, known as St. Anne’s Home, is a long-term recovery home for adult women recovering from drug and/or alcohol addiction. The home is owned by the Sisters of St. Anne, an order of Anglican nuns in the Episcopal Church, and operates as an eight-bed “Family Community Home,” which is permitted under the property’s current RS2 zoning classification.
St. Anne’s Home is the culmination of a 40-year dream, first envisioned by the Chicago Order of St. Anne’s Mother Superior Mary Margaret, to operate a recovery home to address the high rate of drug and alcohol addiction among women. The Order’s current Superior, Mother Judith Mandrath, serves as the Executive Director of St. Anne’s Home.
The Order would like to increase to 15 the number of women it houses in the home. Such an increase would change the zoning category of the home to a “Group Community Home,” and require a Special Use Permit from the City of Chicago’s Zoning Board of Appeals.
Lawrence Hall Youth Services, a social service agency, previously owned the property and operated it as a group community home for teen girls who were wards of the State. Unfortunately, the home became increasingly disruptive to the surrounding neighborhood, as the agency experienced difficulties managing the home and its residents.
At my urging, Lawrence Hall ceased operating the group home in 2013. They eventually sold the property to the Order of St. Anne, which requested my support for a permit to operate a 15-bed group community home for adult women recovering from substance abuse.
I convened a meeting in 2015 with the residents of the 1700 blocks of Chase and Touhy to discuss the proposal. Many of the residents expressed concerns about another group home operating on the site, given the problems they experienced with the Lawrence Hall group home.
In light of the neighbors’ concerns, I recommended the Order of St. Anne initially operate a smaller eight-bed facility, which is permitted under the existing zoning. I promised if they proved to be good neighbors, I would revisit their proposal for a 15-bed facility.
The Order rehabilitated the home extensively and opened its doors in 2017 as an eight-bed family community home. The home has operated without incident since it opened.
The Order recently renewed their request for a Special Use Permit to operate as a 15-bed group community home and I have agreed to bring it before the community for its review and input.
The opinion of the local alderman and the community may influence the Zoning Board of Appeals’ decision on the Special Use Permit application, but the Board retains final authority on whether to grant the permit.
I urge you to attend the meeting to offer your opinions and suggestions regarding the proposed group home expansion. If you are unable to attend the meeting, please share your thoughts with me by replying to this email.