WOODSTOCK – The founder of the company tapped to operate a proposed substance abuse rehabilitation facility inside a $5.2 million Hartland Township home appeared before McHenry County zoning officials this month to answer questions about the controversial project that has some residents and local officials concerned.
Asher Gottesman, the founder of Los Angeles-based Transcend Inc., showed up to a March 8 Zoning Board of Appeals meeting to shed more light on the proposed care facility at 19802 Dunham Road.
The giant home boasts seven bedrooms, four kitchens and 20,000 square feet, including a finished basement. It has two elevators and a private pond.
Sitting on 19.3 acres of rural land, the posh pad once was the home of a successful couple who made their money in private education. Now owned by an investment group called Dunham Property Holdings LLC, the property could be the future site of a substance abuse rehabilitation facility.
The Skokie-based investment company recently partnered with Gottesman’s Transcend Inc., which has worked with 5,000 patients at similar facilities in California, New York and Texas.
Attorney Nicholas Ftikas, of the Law Offices of Sam Banks, peppered Gottesman with questions at the meeting.
The testimony will help zoning officials determine whether they should approve the company’s plan to open the recovery center in rural Woodstock.
Gottesman testified that the facility’s total bed count would not exceed 30, and services would focus on detox treatment and individualized treatments for recovering addicts.
The company plans to employ an executive director, clinical director, licensed physician, two registered nurses a shift, utilization review specialist, office manager, reception/clerical staff members, janitorial service providers and two behavioral health technicians a shift.
Groomsman said it’s the company’s aim to maintain the appearance of an idyllic rural mansion, and there would be no signs drawing attention to the house.
The 20-acre property, less than 800 feet east of the intersection of Menge and Dunham roads, currently is zoned for agriculture. The property owners have requested that county officials change the zoning to an E-5 Estate District to apply for a special use permit.
That permit would allow Dunham Property Holdings to offer detoxification treatment and other rehab services to paying clients dealing with substance abuse.
Unlike a hospital, the facility would only accept private health insurance from clients.
“So you’re not accepting state or government insurances or vouchers?” Ftikas asked.
“None,” Gottesman said.
About 30 Hartland Township and Woodstock residents have stepped forward in opposition of the facility, Hartland officials said. One concern centered on the potential for groundwater contamination from patients detoxing from prescription drugs. Another focused on the fear that a patient that “wanders off the property.”
“And you have no affiliation with any correctional institutions?” Ftikas asked.
“Absolutely not,” Gottesman said.
Before the property owners can do anything with the site, the county’s zoning board must grant its request for a zoning change, and the McHenry County Board must approve.