New Assisted Living Plan Pitched to Pleasantville Officials
It is understandable if any Pleasantville residents experienced a bit of déjà vu following Monday night’s village board work session.
Representatives from Brightview Senior Living appeared before the board to present a preliminary proposal for an assisted and independent living facility on the Jewish Child Care Association (JCCA) property on Broadway.
Brightview, a Baltimore, Md.-based company, currently has facilities in 31 locations from the Mid-Atlantic region to Boston, including one that is currently under construction in Greenburgh.
Michael Glenn, of Brightview’s development team, said the current conceptual plan would feature 100 independent living units that would consist of two or three bedrooms and a kitchen, as well as 50 one-bedroom assisted living units and 25 secured units for patients suffering from memory deficiencies.
The 175 units would be contained in a four-story building, with the first story partially below ground level. It would be built on an eight-acre parcel next to the current entrance of the Cottage School. There is currently no architectural design, but Glenn said the buildings would be in character with surrounding structures.
“We really like to blend in, that’s the major theme,” he said.
Glenn noted that having the assisted living units alongside independent living is what would differentiate this project from the Benchmark assisted living facility proposal. Benchmark’s proposal was rejected last spring by the village board after months of contentious debate. He said that the independent living units would provide a better option for residents who are no longer able to remain in their own homes but don’t necessarily need the daily care assisted living provides.
“Our focus is adding communities where need is greatest and that’s what brought us to Pleasantville,” Glenn explained. “Studying the demographics and the supply, we think there’s a significant imbalance here.”
Although a formal application has not been submitted, attorney David Steinmetz, who is representing Brightview, said that the village would need to approve a zoning change if the project was to move forward. Steinmetz, who also represented Benchmark in its failed bid, noted that there are a variety of ways that the facility could be accommodated, including a special permit or a new zone.
“[We’re] all ears because we believe there are a number of different ways this can be done and we want you to be comfortable with it,” Steinmetz said.
Village trustees said they favor having an assisted living facility introduced for this location. Since it is currently tax exempt because it is owned by a nonprofit organization, it would add the parcel to the tax rolls. However, they also voiced several concerns.
Brightview Senior Living has currently entered into a preliminary land lease agreement with JCCA, which Glenn said is “99 percent negotiated.” Trustee Jonathan Cunningham stated that he would not want to spend time and money considering this proposal until the deal between the two entities was completed, which Steinmentz promised would happen before any formal petition is submitted.
Trustee Mindy Berard said she was concerned about the density, explaining that the area, which is near the Mount Pleasant border, already sees significant traffic and doesn’t have a sidewalk. Although Glenn stated that the average age of residents in Brightview’s facilities is 85, Berard said she was worried that many of the residents in the independent living units would have cars, creating more traffic and parking concerns.
“I think when you’re…not in a city and you can’t walk because there’s no sidewalks, they’re going to use their cars if they’re going to go out in the community,” she said.
Glenn said he has found that the majority of people who reside in independent living units do not have cars. The facility plans to use a bus or car service to transport residents. In addition, he said Brightview would be able set visiting hours and employee shift changes that would avoid creating additional traffic at peak hours.
Several trustees voiced environmental concerns about the site, including how developers plan to work with the parcel’s sloped topography. Brightview representatives explained that they are currently working on ways to build into the slope and to create a 100-foot buffer between the building and wetlands on the property. According to James Ryan of John Meyer Consulting, only about 30 percent of the property will see building coverage.
Although the facility would be surrounded by JCCA property on three sides, Berard said she was concerned about the impact the proposed building would have on residents of nearby Country Club Lane and Seneca Lane. Those residents have become accustomed to seeing a wooded area outside their windows. She said that Brightview would need to consider buffers and plantings to conceal the building.
Steinmetz responded that since the board has expressed interest, Brightview will create a site plan and a draft zoning amendment in the coming months before returning.
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