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Hickory Hills green-lights Sabre Woods development

  • Written by Sharon L. Filkins

After a lengthy period of agreements and disagreements during the Hickory Hills City Council meeting last Thursday, an ordinance was approved for the proposed Sabre Woods development.

The planned unit development (PUD) proposal would take in the site of the old Sabre Room, 8900 W. 95th St., Hickory Hills. The once iconic center was the site of wedding receptions and noted performers who took the stage there, including Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. The Sabre Room closed last year and the building was recently demolished.

The approved special use for PUD, which is located in a R-4 Single Family Residence District and C-3 Highway Commercial District, will allow a combination of commercial and residential uses, including retail stores, independent and assisted living apartments, senior apartments, senior single-family ranch homes, and property that may be donated to the city for use as a public library or other public purposes.

Hickory Hills Mayor Mike Howley said that he and 3rd Ward aldermen Tom McAvoy and Brian Fonte had met with the Koziarz Group, owners of the property; Retown, the development manager; and Chicagoland Realty, marketing and sales, to review the numerous plans that have been presented to the city.

“We finally hammered out an agreement that was agreeable to them and satisfied our zoning and building commission requirements,” Howley said.

In a later conversation, Howley stated that it would be a great benefit to the city if the parties involved are able to attract a developer or developers who can conform to the zoning and building guidelines for the proposed development.

“We are in need of quality senior care in Hickory Hills,” said Howley. “I have talked with many residents who want to stay in the area and when they decide to downsize, or their health needs require a change in their lifestyle. They don’t want to move away from their families and friends. They want to stay close.”

Howley also added that a development restricted to senior level living would not place a burden on the city’s school system.

The approved ordinance addressed several issues of concern such as required footage for setbacks of single-family residences (setbacks were increased from 10 feet to 20 feet to allow cars to park in the driveway of a residence).

An earlier concern of the council was who would be responsible for the detention, retention and storm water areas. The ordinance states that management and maintenance will be the responsibility of a master association. The association will consist of all privately-owned property comprising the site and shall be responsible for the maintenance and repair of all facilities and the common area.

The ordinance also states that the proposed commercial area would be limited to 45,000 square feet.

In his later conversation, Howley also stated that the council was aware that any future developer would need some flexibility in some areas such as the number of single-family homes.

“We will do our best to work with them as long as the plan conforms to our concerns and zoning guidelines,” he said.