The Oregon Plan Commission last month approved zoning change requests for property on Navarre Avenue to make way for a proposed $10 million senior housing project just west of Little Sisters of the Poor.
Plan commission members Mayor Marge Brown, Joe Gajdostick, Tom Susor, and Rick Orovitz voted in favor of a zoning change from R-1 Low Density Residential Zoning District to R-3 Multiple-Family at 4744 Navarre Avenue. Member Scott Winckowski was opposed.
All members voted in support of a zoning change from R-1 Low Density Residential Zoning District to C-5 Navarre Avenue Business District on a nearby parcel at 4700 Navarre Avenue that is needed for the development.
The matter goes before council for approval on August 25.
The Kimmelman Corporation, developer of the two-phased senior housing project, is proposing the construction of 200, one-story stick-built apartments with attached garages that are handicap accessible, with concrete driveways and sidewalks, according to George Oravecz, consulting engineer for Kimmelman. The gated community would include a detention pond, maintained by the complex, that would drain into the Navarre Avenue sewer system.
Limited satellite parking would be available, and managers would be on-site 24 hours a day.
Oravecz said demographics show a tremendous need for senior housing in the area.
The zoning applicant is attorney Tim Ault, agent for property owner Janet M. Morrison.
The site is bounded by Navarre Avenue to the north, Lallendorf Road to the west, Pickle Road to the south, and Wynn Road to the east.
Surrounding the site are Little Sisters to the east, a driving range to the west, Pearson Metropark to the north, the board of education to the south along with other property owned by Morrison, Dunberger Post and a parcel owned by the City of Oregon for a future fire station.
The mayor expressed concerns about seniors driving onto Navarre and making a left-hand turn.
Oravecz said adequate visibility would be provided by an island that separated traffic as motorists approach the intersection at Navarre.
After the meeting, he told The Press that traffic is not as bad on that part of Navarre.
“Traffic is about one-third on that part of Navarre Avenue as to what it is on Navarre Avenue between Wheeling and Coy. The number of seniors making right and left turns out of the various business establishments on that portion of Navarre Avenue will be far greater than seniors pulling out of the complex in the course of a day. We don’t have a real problem with our seniors making that maneuver.”
Winckowski noted at the meeting that the development would not be limited to seniors, even though it is being promoted as senior housing.
Oravecz agreed, but said similar units without a club house, pools, a playground, and other amenities are mostly filled by seniors.
Winckowski was also concerned about the exit onto Navarre Avenue. Prior to his appointment to the commission, he said other developments along Navarre were required to exit from a side street and not directly onto Navarre.
Oravecz said there may be an opportunity in the future to make a connection onto dedicated streets that would be provided within a single family residential development to the south. “But right now, we have no option on that property or access to Pickle Road,” he said.
Administrator Ken Filipiak said it would be feasible to consider an outlet onto Wynn Road through the board of education’s property. The city would prefer seeing traffic emptying out on lesser-traveled streets. He also said bus access to the development might be needed because there is no guarantee kids won’t be in the complex in the future.
Susor wanted to know about rental costs, which he said would help determine who would move into the complex.
Keith Ritz, of the Kimmelman Corporation, said monthly rent would range between $775 to $950.
Opponents of the project included Joseph Eckhart, of Wynn Park. He was concerned about increased traffic on Navarre Avenue, as well as the location of the detention pond.
Ron Super, of Pickle Road, said he wasn’t happy about the site becoming rental property, though he agreed senior housing was needed.
The Project Review Committee had no objections to the rezoning requests, though it noted the proposed C-5 zoning change would be inconsistent with the city’s 2025 Master Plan.
Winckowski said he supported commercial development, but thought the senior housing project was in the wrong area.
The first 1,300 feet back from Navarre Avenue, he said, is supposed to be commercial. In addition, everything east of Lallendorf Road is supposed to be low to medium density, but the project is considered high density under the Master Plan. Not only would R-3 be wrong in the first 1,300 feet, but also the remaining R-3 would be wrong under the Master Plan, he said.