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Senior-housing plan heads to Chardon ballot
Senior-housing plan heads to Chardon ballot
By JOSEPH KOZIOL JR.
Chardon City Council narrowly passed legislation and a development agreement Monday to move a senior citizen housing development closer to reality.
Council voted 4-3 to send a rezoning proposal to the November ballot that would allow development of a 50-acre parcel for residents 55 and older. Just before sending the measure to the ballot, council registered the same vote on a development agreement that establishes guidelines for it.
The proposed development, known as Heron's Glen, is planned for property on South Street (Route 44), just south of the Woods of Burlington subdivision.
Council had tabled action on the two matters a week earlier to allow for a final draft of the development agreement to prepared and signed.
The 4-3 vote fell short of a super majority, or five affirmative votes, meaning the development agreement cannot be signed by the city manager for 30 days, Chardon Law Director James Gillette said.
Mayor Philip King said council delayed action until Monday to ensure that it had as much "factual background" before voting. "We wanted to avoid, 'If only I had known,'" he said.
Mr. Gillette read the development agreement to council, explaining various restrictions that were placed on it.
He said Heron's Glen would have no more than 535 dwelling units and no fewer than 443 in total. Under federal law, those dwelling units must be occupied by at least 80 percent of residents at least 55 years old, he said.
Single-family dwellings would be detached one- or two-story buildings with two-car garages. There would be at least 75 of them and no more than 150, he said. There would be at least five units per acre but not more than six per acre, he said.
Two-family homes would be similarly constructed at one or two stories with two-car garages. The same restrictions on the number and density of the two-family homes were put in place as for the single-family homes, Mr. Gillette said.
A third housing option would be attached townhouses, he said. There would be at least 25 but not more than 135 of them at a density of seven to nine per acre.
Minimum square footage for the individual units of single, two-family and townhouse dwellings would be 1,150 square feet, Mr. Gillette said.
Apartment buildings would house residents in independent and assisted-living facilities that would be one to three stories high. Combined, he said, the two apartment buildings will have between 250 and 400 units.
He said a nursing-home component would be of similar construction and included in the restrictions on number of units, but it depends on approval from the state licensing agency.
Mr. Gillette said architectural design of the housing will be subject to city approval.
If voters approve rezoning the land from industrial to R-4 multi-family, he said, developers must submit a planned-unit-development plan to the city within 100 days. He said the agreement does not constitute approval of the project, and developers will still be required to go through the planning process.
He said the agreement does not just cover Heron's Glen developers but will run with the land for any future development.
John Sheehan, city planning and zoning administrator, said two variances will be accorded developers with the development agreement. He said a nursing home is not a permitted or conditional use in the city. Also, the density for homes exceeds that of city requirements.
Councilwoman Nancy McArthur, who voted against both measures, along with council members John Mallen and Deborah Reiter, said she was disappointed that developers were unable to produce an agreement with residents of the Woods of Burlington.
Sam Cannata, who is partnering with Enzo Perfetto on the development, said residents there are concerned about protecting a wooded buffer that straddles the north-south border of the two properties. He said residents are most concerned about viewing the townhomes from their properties. Originally, he said, developers had agreed to shift one pod of townhouses away from the Woods of Burlington. But he said they eventually went further and agreed that no townhomes would be closer than 150 feet from the housing development to the north.
"We have worked hard with the city to craft an agreement that protects the city," he said.
He said developers would continue to show the same cooperative effort throughout the project.
Mr. Mallen questioned developers about a $31 million loan default on a project in Chicago.
Mr. Cannata said, since 2008, when the economy imploded, many developers have faced financial adversity, which happened with that project. He said executives of the bank which issued the loan subsequently were accused of fraud. Because of those circumstances, he said, the Irish government took control of the bank. He said developers are still in discussion with bank officials to get the project back on track.
Mr. Perfetto said that a developer's agreement was like putting the cart before the horse. He said developers were agreeing to conditions before engineering could be done to determine what land is buildable. He said it is likely that the set numbers will be reduced, rather than enlarged, after that engineering is done.
Mr. Sheehan said the costs for any improvements that may be needed to the city's sanitary-sewer system because of the development will be borne by the developer, not the city.
Mr. King said the development may improve residents' choices for housing. Now, he said, most seniors looking for a nearby retirement community must choose between Wilder's Trailer Park in Chardon Township or facilities in Mentor.
Mr. Mallen said he hopes that he is wrong about "his vote" and that the project turns out better than his expectations for it.
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