First reported 5/12/2010 1:51 p.m.

It’s wait until next year for the group seeking to build affordable senior citizen housing across the street from the park on Harrison. The Forest Park village council voted unanimously last week to send the proposal for a four-story senior housing complex back to the Plan Commission.

At its meeting last month, the Plan Commission had unanimously voted to recommend against approving the proposal. Cited for the rejection were concerns about the size and density of the proposed building and what was called an apparently rushed speed of the planning process.

After the unanimous vote against their proposal by the Plan Commission, the developers had anticipated the village council’s rejection last week. To come up with a proposal the village can accept, they plan to work with village staff and the Plan Commission.

“We think engaging the community is always a good thing to do,” said Andrew Geer, director of Heartland Housing, a nonprofit group that has partnered with a small private firm on the project.

The developers had been trying to meet a May 17 deadline for apply for tax credits awarded by the Illinois Housing Development Authority. These tax credits are essential to developing housing that will be leased at less than market rates. The developers have now set their sights on a new application next year; the tax credits are typically awarded only once a year.

“We don’t have the time constraints right now of our IHDA application,” Geer said. “We’re encouraged. We’re just engaging the village, just to understand their processes.”

The next step, at some undetermined time, is to take part in a planning workshop with the Plan Commission.

The developers hope to fine-tune their proposal and build support for it.

“We’ve heard pretty consistently that many people are supportive of an affordable senior housing project option in the village,” Geer said. “We’re just going to go through the process and try to be in a better position for next year’s application.”

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