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Proposed Assisted-Living Zoning Regulations Slated For Hearing

Published: February 16, 2017

The Borough Zoning Commission (BZC) has scheduled a public hearing for March 8 on a set of zoning regulations proposed by a developer on allowing an assisted-living housing complex as a permitted land use in the borough.

The regulations proposed by the developer, if approved by the BZC, would create a mechanism through which the developer could apply for three BZC zoning approvals for an approximately 70-unit assisted living complex at a 3.97-acre site at 37 Church Hill Road, on the eastern corner of Church Hill Road and The Boulevard. The site is in a P-1 (Professional) zone. It also is in the Village District (VD) overlay zone, which the BZC uses in regulating aesthetics.

The undeveloped property is owned by Pepper Partners, LLC. The site formerly was proposed for other uses, including a medical office building, none of which have materialized. The site abuts the intersection of Church Hill Road, The Boulevard, and the main driveway for a new retail/office complex at 30 Church Hill Road, where traffic signals recently started operating.

In a January 30 letter to BZC Chairman Douglas Nelson, attorney Peter Scalzo, representing the developer, applied for revisions to the borough zoning regulations to include the developer’s proposed rules on allowing assisted living complexes in the P-1 zone.

The page of proposed zoning regulations contains topics including: a definition of assisted-living housing; allowing assisted living as a permitted use; requirements for buildings and plots; parking areas; and driveways.

On February 16, Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) members in their role as the borough’s planning agency, were scheduled to consider and make a recommendation to the BZC on the proposed assisted-living zoning regulations for the borough.

On February 7, Mr Scalzo said that on March 8 at the BZC’s planned public hearing on the proposed zoning regulations, the developer would present some general plans describing the housing complex proposed for 37 Church Hill Road. The working name of the project is Church Hill Village, he said. The development proposal would be workable and suitable for the site, he added.

 

BZC Members’ Observations

At their February 8 meeting, BZC members briefly discussed and the proposed regulations and then slated the public hearing for March 8.

Developer William Donohue of Old Greenwich, who is proposing Church Hill Village, attended the February 8 BZC session. Mr Donohue did not speak at the meeting, other than to say he was observing the proceedings.

Mr Nelson said that the proposed regulations specify that an assisted living complex have access to a public water supply, sanitary sewers, and an arterial street. 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.

BZC member Brid Craddock observed that an assisted living use for the site would be less intensive than a retail use there.

An assisted living use would tend to be more spread out on the site than other types of uses, Mr Nelson said.

Based on its 37 Church Hill Road location, an assisted-living complex would require three BZC approvals — a special permit, a site development plan endorsement, and a Village District certificate. New buildings in the borough’s Village District overlay zone are limited to a maximum 6,500 square feet of enclosed space.

Although the BZC does not have any zoning regulations on assisted living, the P&Z has had such rules for many years. Such local facilities include Masonicare’s Lockwood Lodge at 139 Toddy Hill Road, and Maplewood at Newtown at 166 Mt Pleasant Road.

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