Cambria senior living project can move ahead, with added conditions

ktanner@thetribunenews.comMay 14, 2013 

A 31-unit senior-living complex in Cambria can move forward, county supervisors ruled Tuesday, but it must abide by added conditions.

A project opponent has said he will appeal the decision to the state Coastal Commission.
By unanimous vote, supervisors upheld a county planner’s decision at a March 1 public hearing to give the project a minor-use permit. In doing so, however, supervisors also partially upheld Bruce Fosdike’s appeal by tightening some conditions on Kingston Bay Senior Living’s permit and adding others.

The assisted-living project would be built on a lot that’s zoned multifamily, allowing for an apartment or condominium complex with up to 33 units.  

A previous, slightly larger senior-housing project, which had a commitment for water service from Cambria’s services district, was approved for the site without opposition in 2002.

Kingston Bay would house up to 41 “frail elderly” residents, providing help with daily tasks but not medical treatment, according to developer Jeff King. There would be common recreation, socializing, garden and dining areas.

He estimated the project would cost $8.5 million to build and generate about $1.2 million a year in salaries to the round-the-clock employees, no more than 13 of whom would be onsite at any given time.

In the nearly three-hour hearing Tuesday, supervisors heard pleas from neighbors and others who said proposed development on the 1.25-acre site bordering Ardath Drive, Green Street and Londonderry Lane was too large for the site and the community and was “the wrong project in the wrong place,” according to Cambria resident Jeff Hellman.

William and Eleanor Seavey, who live nearby, launched a petition drive against the project. William Seavey stressed the dangers of increased traffic and potential drain on local emergency services. His wife, nearly in tears, said few locals would be able to afford the monthly charges to stay at Kingston Bay, which she estimated at between $4,500 and $6,000.

William Seavey said in an email to The Tribune on Wednesday that there will be an appeal of the supervisors’ decision filed with the California Coastal Commission.

Out of 19 people who spoke during the public-comment period, two spoke in favor of the project.
Gregg Whitfield, who lives upslope from the Kingston Bay site, said he’s “totally in favor” of the project. “The thought of having 33 condos there is, oh my gosh!”

Some of the supervisors referred to their own personal struggles with finding a suitable assisted-living home for a relative, most often a mother.

Supervisor Bruce Gibson said, “I’ve looked long and hard at this,” visiting and walking the site, checking traffic patterns and the neighborhood design and ambiance.

In his motion to partially uphold Fosdike’s appeal but allow the project to go forward, Gibson added new conditions, including mandating that the project:

• Use none of the community’s potable water to irrigate landscaping;

• Restrict delivery trucks to two axles;

• Require landscaping, when fully grown, to screen at least 50 percent of the structure;

• Restrict the height of lighting to no more than the minimum required to meet fire and building safety codes; and

• Reduce the visual impact of the 29,080-square-foot building by inserting more breaks in the roofline.

Follow Kathe Tanner on Twitter at @CambriaReporter.

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