The Cambrian

Senior living plan OK’d; appeal likely

A county Planning Hearing Officer has approved with amended conditions a 28,000-square-foot senior-care facility at the intersection of Ardath Drive and Green Street.

Hearing Officer Dana Lilley issued the ruling March 1 after nearly two hours of testimony by the applicant and seven members of the North Coast Advisory Council.

Lilley said the complex is proposed in a multi-family housing zone, which could have allowed an apartment complex. He said more housing is needed to accommodate the county’s aging population, and he felt the council’s concerns were adequately addressed by staff.

John McGarry, chairman of NCAC’s Land Use Committee, told Lilley that the council had “reservedly recommended” the project with conditions.

Some NCAC members have indicated they may appeal Lilley’s approval to the county Board of Supervisors. Any appeal must be filed by March 15.

About a dozen people attended the hearing. Vikki Hansen of Cherish House, which includes two other senior-housing facilities, also testified. She said she didn’t think there was enough North Coast demand to fill a center as large as Kingston Bay, and that Cherish House has had few inquiries from prospective tenants who live outside the area.

Applicant Jeff King and two of his Kingston Bay consultants also spoke at length, and stressed their experience and willingness to work with the community on the senior-care facility that would provide 41 beds in 31 living units, including 24 assisted-living units and seven for “memory care” patients with Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related medical problems. It would also employ about 31 full-time equivalents.

King said they made the project smaller than a previously approved project on the same property.

King and his consultants did redesign somewhat to incorporate two NCAC suggestions. The architect added one more parking space and moved dumpsters for trash and recycling to the right side of the facility and screened them from view.

Concerns NCAC members raised centered on how people could travel past the center (driving or on foot), go to or from the center and park when they got there. More than 3,200 vehicles a day pass by the Kingston Bay site.

Some also were concerned about how the center would look in the residential area, especially from Highway 1.

Council members want hard-surface sidewalks and shoulders on Ardath and Green rather than gravel they say could wash away during storms.

The project’s minor use permit would automatically require installation of curb, gutter and sidewalks, but the applicant could apply to have those requirements waived if they’re not a condition of approval.

The project’s traffic plan would be completed and reviewed later in the permit process.

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