Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the dimensions and locations of some improvements agreed to by the developers of the proposed Kingston Bay Senior Living project in Cambria. The paved shoulder would be four feet wide, and the sidewalk would be five feet wide, and just on Ardath Drive, not on the Londonderry or Green street frontages.
When county supervisors hold an appeal hearing Tuesday, May 14, about a proposed 31-unit senior-living complex on a busy connector road in a residential Cambria neighborhood, they’ll be reviewing the fourth iteration of a project on that multi-family-zoned site.
The immediate predecessor to the current Kingston Bay Senior Living Center was Michael Clark’s Kestrel Point Assisted Living Community project with kitchen and dining room — also planned for 31 units — which had its county permits and had triggered little controversy.
That’s not the case for Kingston Bay.
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A senior living project at the site has been in the works since at least 2001, replacing Clark’s earlier proposal to put a bed-and-breakfast inn on the site. The county approved Clark’s two-phase senior-housing plan in 2002.
Another redesign combined the two phases into one and made some other changes. But the project at 1981 Green Street never got off the ground, and eventually Clark sold the land and concept to Jeff King and his Kingston Bay associates.
The property extends from a triangular wedge of land south to the intersection with London Lane.
Kingston Bay’s Cambria project
As currently proposed, the 28,265-square-foot, two-story complex would include 31 units and 41 beds in a Craftsman-style building. The facility would be licensed for residential assisted living and memory care; patients with dementia would be in a separate, one-story wing. A kitchen would provide meals in a dining area.
Kingston Bay’s road to approval hasn’t been a smooth one. After a contentious hearing Nov. 28, the North Coast Advisory Council (NCAC) vote to recommend the project was 8-1 with one abstention. But council members had added a list of recommended additional conditions, among which were: A right-turn lane from Ardath Drive to southbound Highway 1; improving sightlines for those driving onto Ardath from Green Street; and more parking for the anticipated 30.6 fulltime-equivalent employees and others.
In part, member Bruce Fosdike’s appeal was based on some councilmembers’ perception that the county hadn’t dealt properly with those added conditions.
After adding other requirements, a county planning official approved the project’s minor use permit March 1.
It’s that decision that’s being appealed to county supervisors.
Opponents say the project is too large for the residential neighborhood at the intersections of Ardath Drive, Green Street and Londonderry Lane, doesn’t provide enough parking for guests, employees and others, would degrade the view from Highway 1, Ardath and nearby neighborhoods, and needs to provide more safety for those driving, walking or riding past the complex.
Some opponents, including project neighbor Bill Seavey, have gone further, launching an Internet petition (online at http://chn.ge/11jC8LQ), saying the project has fatal flaws, is “the wrong project for local seniors and the wrong project for the community” and listing issues ranging from disruption of a major arterial road, lack of demonstrated need for the center, water use, “unsustainable design flaws” and that the large development is out of character for the residential neighborhood.
Seavey has also announced that project opponents will be gathering at 2 p.m. Friday, May 10, prior to the opening of the Cambria Farmers Market at 1000 Main St. (the market opens at 2:30 p.m.)
King says they’ve tried to respond to community concerns, which he said include “some honest issues … and even after approval, there will be ongoing debates.”
Kingston Bay has lowered the building into the hillside to reduce visual impact, added one more parking space and moved trash receptacles to a less obvious spot.
In the most recent change, Kingston Bay has agreed to county planners' new requirement for an 4-foot-wide paved shoulder on all frontages of the property and 5-foot-wide sidewalk with curbing (but not gutters, as the county initially reported May 1 but retracted later that day) on the Ardath Drive frontage.
Kingston Bay Senior Living LLC
According to www.kingstonbayseniors.com, the firm has three projects in the works — an 84-unit senior center in Fresno, 125-unit retirement community in Paso Robles and the smaller Cambria facility.
The website says the Kingston Bay team has 60 years of combined experience on 66 projects valued at $475 million.
King said he’s still a major shareholder “in each project I have created,” including: 48 units in Lompoc, 50 in North Fresno, 72 in Clovis, 120 in Bakersfield, 160 in two Salinas complexes and a development of single-family homes in Lemoore. Some projects are for low-income seniors, others are upscale.
“Every project is crafted for the community, the site and the market into which it is placed,” he said. “No two projects are alike,” which makes comparisons difficult.
King said “We have a mission and obligation to deliver high-quality housing to our seniors … The most important issue is how do we provide a quality, alternative living experience for our frail elderly when they are no longer able to care for themselves?”