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Following extended discussion at an April 12 session, Borough Zoning Commission (BZC) members unanimously approved a set of new zoning regulations covering assisted-living housing complexes.
The regulations create a mechanism through which a developer will be able to apply to build a proposed 62-unit assisted living housing complex on a 3.97-acre parcel at 37 Church Hill Road, on the eastern corner of Church Hill Road and The Boulevard. Access to the site would be provided from both streets. The project has the working name Church Hill Village.
On March 8, the BZC held a public hearing on the then-proposed rules, through which the firm known as Teton Capital would seek three BZC approvals to construct a multiple-building project for elderly people who require assistance with the activities of daily living. The rules approved by the BZC on April 12 were largely the regulations that had been proposed by Teton Capital, with certain modifications made by BZC members.
Voting in favor of the modified regulations were BZC Chairman Douglas Nelson, David Francis, Brid Craddock, and Claudia Mitchell.
Developer William Donohue of Teton Capital said he expects to return to the BZC “in a couple of months” with a site development plan application for Church Hill Village. The proposal will require three approvals from the BZC — a site development plan approval, a special permit, and a Village District zoning certificate. The three layers of zoning approval are required due to the nature of the application and its location within the borough.
Although the town has two assisted-living complexes, the borough has no such facilities, requiring that the BZC create zoning regulations for such a land use before any developer could apply to create such a facility in the borough.
BZC discussion on April 12 on modifying Teton’s proposed regulations focused on the vehicle parking aspects of a site development plan, in terms of the location and the proximity of such parking to buildings on the site and to adjacent streets.
Mr Nelson told BZC members that the rules covering assisted-living complexes should conform with the provisions of the Village District zoning to the greatest extent possible. The Village District rules concern the aesthetic aspects of commercial development.
Because an assisted living complex would require fewer parking spaces than would other commercial uses, BZC members agreed that such a project’s construction density can be somewhat higher than is otherwise allowed.
The approved zoning regulations require that assisted-living facilities be located in the borough’s (P-1) Professional zone on lots that are at least three acres. Such projects must have a public water supply and public sanitary sewers. Such development also must border a major roadway.
Applicable zoning rules limit the size of individual buildings to 6,500 square feet. Consequently, development proposals often include multiple 6,500-square-foot buildings that are physically interconnected. The conceptual rendering for Church Hill Village shows a group of such interconnected structures.
Multiple buildings at the site would be interconnected by a series of glass passageways. Four single-story residential buildings would be built, three of which would provide conventional assisted living settings, and one of which would be designated for residents requiring specialized “memory care” services. Some of the complex’s resident services buildings would be two stories tall.
The number of parking spaces that the BZC would require at the site is based on the residents of the complex not driving automobiles, BZC members decided.
Also, BZC members agreed to potentially regulate parking facilities less strictly than usual, provided that the developer can show that the specific parking design is “reasonably necessary” for the functioning of the complex. Also, the new regulations address providing suitable buffering for parking areas to visually shield them from adjacent properties.
After Teton Capital returns to the BZC with its three zoning applications for Church Hill Village, the BZC would hold multiple public hearings on the development proposal.
As defined by the proposed regulations, “assisted living” refers to an elderly housing complex in which a variety of basic services are provided, such as nursing and assistance with the activities of daily living, to a stable resident population.
The undeveloped site at 37 Church Hill Road is owned by Pepper Partners, LLC. A four-way traffic signal recently started operating there at the intersection of Church Hill Road, The Boulevard, and the main driveway for The Village at Lexington Gardens retail/office complex at 30 Church Hill Road.
Local existing assisted-living complexes are Masonicare’s Lockwood Lodge at 139 Toddy Road, and Maplewood at Newtown at 166 Mt Pleasant Road.