The city Planning Commission on April 9 finalized its decision to not recommend the build of an 81-bed convalescent home on the corner of Dixie Street and Grace Street.
The Viri Estates project needs a city OK for a zone amendment, parcel map, development plan and conditional use permit before it can build.
Commissioner Louise Balma was the one vote against denying the project.
“The (city) staff did a great job in their direction to dial this in,” Balma said. “It was well-designed, beautiful architecture.”
The new build proposed for the Loma Alta neighborhood would consist of four two-story buildings, which total 63,350 square feet, on a two-acre site. Plans include landscaping, a courtyard, a property wall and fencing.
Within the facility plans are private rooms, a communal kitchen, a spa, a den, a laundry room, a nurses station, a lobby, offices, a physical therapy room and a family guest suite.
Another feature of the planned build is an interior courtyard which would help shield the surrounding neighborhood from any newly generated traffic. Balma said the facility would have less traffic impact than single-family homes or an affordable housing project that match the current zoning of the two-lot site.
Development plans also include a public sidewalk, which Balma said speakers at the April meeting expressed a need to have.
Parking is address by leased space at a neighboring church.
Most speakers at the meeting were against a nursing facility in the residential neighborhood. Some asked that affordable housing be considered on the two lots.
There were a couple of speakers who expressed a need for a facility that provides short- and long-term care, dementia care and hospice care.
City staff recommended the project, but the majority of commissioners opposed changing city zoning from single-family residential to public and semipublic to allow the facility.
Commissioners said the project is inconsistent with the city’s General Plan, and the build would negatively impact the surrounding residential community with increased traffic, including truck and ambulance trips.
Staff reports confirmed what Balma said about the project. Reports said the build is consistent with the city’s General Plan, site suitable and presents no impacts to traffic circulation. Staff also said the project enhances its surrounding, and is a marked improvement over the existing conditions of a vacant lot.
Balma said the city needs to look at best land uses with new eyes.
“The city is reaching max capacity, so infill projects such as this one need to be addressed in a different way,” Balma said. “Sometimes changes need to be made to a plan that hasn’t been updated for decades.”
“I believe this project is a good fit and I hope the council feels the same.”
The first commission vote was held March 19.
City Council will make the final decision to allow a zoning amendment for the convalescent home at a future date.