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Advocate Christ Wants More Time To Address Village's Infrastructure Questions

Advocate Christ Medical Center is skipping Monday's Planning and Development Commission meeting while it addresses village's impact study "punch list."

has asked to be taken off the agenda for tonight’s (Monday, May 21) Planning and Development Commission.

Following the medical center officials have asked for more time to address the village’s impact study “punch list.”

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Planning commissioners of the $600 million hospital campus expansion. The latest addition, if approved, is expected to be viable until 2021.

The Oak Lawn Planning and Development Commission want to because there are still too many “unknowns” about traffic, flood control and economic impact on the village.

“The last meeting indicated the village had a lot of questions,” Pat Lyons said, director of construction and design for Advocate Healthcare. “I thought we had a pretty good package.”

Medical center officials were expected to go before the Planning and Development Commission Monday, but Lyons said that many of the village’s questions required detailed answers.

“We want to take out the heavy technical terms,” Lyons added. “We want to make sure our answers are thoughtful and provide [the village] enough time to review the answers.”

Crawford Garden residents who attended the Planning and Development Commission meeting earlier this month said they felt “blindsided” by the latest proposal.

The 9-story inpatient tower of up to 170 feet will be located on the east of the campus facing Kostner Avenue of the site of an existing parking garage. Renderings and designs for the proposed inpatient tower do not yet exist.

A new garage will be built on a lot across the street from the medical center, and connect to the patient tower by a pedestrian bridge extending over Kostner.

A similar, $200 million outpatient tower is currently under construction on the main medical center campus. Advocate Christ President Ken Lukhard also hinted at future plans to update older buildings on the campus, including Hope Children’s Hospital.

Oak Lawn Village Manager Larry Deetjen said that current plans don’t address infrastructural concerns, including the sanitary sewer system and lift station. In addition to special-use, height and setback variances, the medical center also wants to widen Kostner Avenue.

Deetjen wants Advocate to enter into a contract with the village to pay for “impacting” public facilities—both those identified and unknown but reasonable costs that could be incurred after the new phase is constructed and operational.

“In essence, Advocate must agree to mitigate by planning, constructing and financing any such results,” Deetjen said in an email.

The village manager was compiling a list of questions and concerns about some of the impact studies Advocate Christ has provided so far about the latest proposed addition to the hospital. That list, described by Deetjen as “dynamic,” was being submitted to Oak Lawn Village Board members before their next meeting on Tuesday.

The Planning and Development Commission did not believe Advocate Christ’s traffic impact studies gave an accurate picture of traffic when the addition is completed. The did not include Keeler Avenue from 93rd Street to 95th Street. A second study did not take into account residents on the south side of 95th Street.

Lyons said that he expected Advocate Christ to provide its responses to the village as early as this week.

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Sandra Bury May 21, 2012 at 01:51 PM
It’s the right thing to do to take the time to address these concerns. As a business owner and resident who struggles with my taxes already, I appreciate the P & D Commission’s care and attention to how this will impact the community and village - and ultimately my pocketbook. I smiled when I read that Advocate wanted to take out “heavy technical terms.” Could they think we need the remedial version of their story because P & D just didn’t see it their way? Do they question the intelligence of this educated and dedicated Commission because they dared ask for more detail for their review and consideration? There is no doubt that Advocate Christ Medical Center is one of the jewels of Oak Lawn and the residents are well served by having them in their community. Advocate does not pay a dime in municipal taxes however, and the much needed changes they are proposing will strain resources and increase costs for the village. It’s correct for the village to have an expectation that these increased costs be shared by the entity which created them.
fred wiese May 21, 2012 at 08:12 PM
I agree that this is too big for Oak Lawn. The crowds and traffic will be unbelievable. I think Advocate should move to Romeoville. Lots of open space and better roads.
STM May 22, 2012 at 11:39 AM
What kind of benefit will the citizens and tax payers of Oak Lawn get? More traffic jams on 95-th st. I agree with Sandra Bury about Advocate not paying any municipal taxes. They should. Why should the citizens of Oak Lawn pay all the taxes and such a big business not pay any? We are already overtaxed by the county and state. Thanks to our mayor that Oak Lawn has not raised our property taxes in a long time.
OakLawnGuy May 22, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Never happen. Cook County and Madigan would get involved: it is THE trauma center south of Stroger Hospital, and Advocate is quite, uh, an advocate of the Democrats and their campaign funds.
Sandra Bury May 22, 2012 at 12:56 PM
I have never said that Advocate should pay property taxes, but their own document (IRS 990 2010) says, “Real estate property tax and sales tax exemptions for not-for-profit hospitals in the State of Illinois have been questioned and challenged both at the State and local levels. The ultimate outcome of these questions and challenges cannot be predicted however the exemptions currently enjoyed by not-for-profit hospitals may be at risk.” I do feel that Advocate should step up to the plate and support the community that supports it to the tune of billions yearly in billing. The additional burden should not be shouldered by the taxpayers. Asking them for a separate fee is a reasonable way to do this. As far as not raising taxes, if you look more closely at things, it was the Board of Trustees who committed to doing that and had the intestinal fortitude to do what was necessary to make it happen.
JR May 24, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Dr Bury, I can’t agree with you more. I am extremely concerned about the potential future growth of the healthcare industry in Oak Lawn. Not to say it isn't a vital part of any vibrant community, but they are doing it on the backs of Oak Lawn taxpayers. Advocate Christ Medical Center should be required to pay impact fees to the village. The other related concern that I have is the Advocate claimed that the area around Advocate Christ Medical Center is one of the hottest healthcare corridors in the U.S. That means we will be seeing an influx of doctor's offices and medical facilities that bring in no sales tax revenues. This will further deplete the fiscal strength of the Village.
Peggy Kupres June 06, 2012 at 02:47 AM
I am not sure if all of you are aware of the support Advocate Christ has given to our ambulances by supplying them with EKG monitors not to mention the training of the paramedics. Those of you who want Christ to move to Romeoville obviously do not realize the emergency treatment that Christ can give you that Palos and Little Company cannot. How many emergency hearts are transferred from Palos? How many brain aneurysms from Little Company? I am not saying they are bad hospitals, but Christ has things they do not. I know because my mom was sent there for a brain aneurysm and many family and friends for cardiac problems. Let's look at what we would lose as a community here folks! Ask the restaurant owners in Oak Lawn how much support they get from employees at the hospital and from patient families.
CD July 20, 2012 at 01:43 PM
For pete's sake, we're complaining about potential traffic jams after the expansion? In the village which contains the nightmarish 95th and Cicero? Perhaps Oak Lawn could manage its existing traffic better before it becomes concerned with the probably moderate increase in Christ-centered traffic. Somehow I doubt that the village manager's demand for $850,000 a year will result in significant traffic modifications. Who knows where it will go to. More traffic cameras? Advocate is planning the largest expansion *in the country* here in Oak Lawn. I don't know all the financial nuts and bolts of it, but it seems like it would be nothing less than disastrous if they moved. When St. Francis began to shut its doors, Blue Island was in a panic. What other business is here? Car dealerships? Mattress shops?

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