Written by MARK JAEGER
Wednesday, 16 October 2013 16:54
Satisfied with answers to zoning questions, village Plan Commission clears way for 20-bed facility
More questions than answers surrounded a proposed 20-bed, assisted-living facility for the elderly during a public hearing on the project last month.
On Monday, the Village of Fredonia Plan Commission again reviewed the Forest Haven project, proposed for 400 Martin Dr., resolving most of those questions.
As a result, the commission unanimously approved a conditional-use permit for the facility which will be operated by L.M. Consulting.
The assisted-living home will be built on a 4.6-acre outlot of the Village Green South subdivision which is zoned for multi-family use. It’s estimated value is $1.4 million.
Village President Chuck Lapicola said the village attorney and Public Works Director Roger Strohm were consulted on a number of questions and assertions raised by neighbors during last month’s hearing.
“According to our attorney, the RD-1 zoning is appropriate for this use with a conditional-use permit,” Lapicola said.
The zoning would allow 16 beds on the parcel, but the conditional-use permit would extend that to 20 beds.
Strohm also learned the village is not restricted on the number of assisted-living beds it can allow in the community.
“What the state statute says is we cannot zone against allowing up to 1% of our population, and above that it is the board’s discretion,” he said.
Lapicola said he also checked with the village assessor, and said there is no history of facilities of the proposed size of Forest Haven having a negative impact on property values.
In response to the concern by neighbors that the presence of the home will result in a steady stream of blaring sirens and ambulance traffic, Lapicola said that has not been the case at comparable facilities.
Records show the two assisted-living facilities in Fredonia average one or two ambulance runs a year, he said.
Commission member John Long, who lives on nearby North Milwaukee Street, said the people he talked to have no problem with the assisted-living facility moving in.
“None of the neighbors I talked to have an objection to the CBRF (community-based residential facility). They felt it would be a good buffer for the subdivision,” Long said.
“In fact, some said they wish it was already available for their parents.”
Commission member Bill Hamm said the facility will offer options to the elderly who want to stay in Fredonia.
“If I need a CBRF in another 20 years, where am I supposed to go?” Hamm asked.
“There are more restrictions on this project than there would be if it was going to be a single-family home.”
Commission Gerry Weiland said in many cases the residents of the facility will be people who already live in the community.
“To me, they are just residents. They can’t help it they are elderly. In good conscience, I couldn’t vote against this plan,” Weiland said.
Mary Renzaglia of L.M. Consulting said a community advisory committee will be formed as part of the assisted-living home’s state licensing.
One of the conditions included with the permit approval is a one-year review of operations.