by Kristin Casale

Reporter

Munroe Falls -- Another retirement facility may be added to the community in the former Triple Crown Restaurant site.

Holiday Retirement, an Oregon-based company, wants to build a 125-suite, four-story retirement facility for healthy senior citizens at 335 S. Main St. The 3.2-acre property currently comprises the now-closed Triple Crown Restaurant, which is for sale for $1.2 million.

Dan Roach, an architect with Oregon firm Curry Brandaw Architects, spoke to the Planning Commission about the facility May 22. He said Holiday Retirement is affiliated with XL Management Co., the firm that owns Mulberry Gardens, the assisted living facility next to the Triple Crown site.

The retirement home planned for the commercially-zoned Triple Crown site would serve 130 people, according to Roach.

"The plan is to do something quite different than what is happening at Mulberry Gardens," he said. "The residents who will be living with us will be able to take care of themselves."

Roach said the residents' meals and housekeeping would be part of the cost of living, and van services would be provided. Additional common areas, such as an activity room and library would be included in the design, he said.

According to Roach, four managers would staff the facility 24 hours a day, seven days a week and live in the building. Additional staff members also would work with the residents, he said, stating 14 full-time equivalent employees are expected to staff the site.

Roach was unable to provide an average salary for the workers.

Munroe Falls Planning Commissionmember Bill Mattingly said he supports the facility.

"I'm familiar with independent care," he said. "It gives [the residents] freedom. [The facilities] are quiet. You can't ask for a nicer thing in your area."

Clifford Curry, co-owner of the architecture firm, estimated it would take 11 months to build the 32,505-square-foot facility, stating he hopes to begin in August. He said it would cost $15 million for the construction.

Curry said the individual suites would be rented to the occupants at an average cost of $2,000 per month.

Zoning code changes

Planning Commission Chairperson Mark Ferguson said the city has two options regarding how the facility could be built in the community, stating current zoning laws do not permit residences in commercial areas. The city could rezone the property to a residential district or amend the zoning code to allow retirement facilities to be built in commercial zones, he said.

Ferguson said both options have issues that must be considered.

"My only concern [with amending the code] is that we're taking a district with such a limited use and opening it up," he said, stating the city would be unable to stop other commercial areas in the city from being developed as care facilities in the future.

But Ferguson said rezoning the Triple Crown property could hurt the surrounding commercial sites in that area.

"I really want to see this facility built, but I want to make sure we do it properly," he said.

Board of Zoning Appeals Chairperson Norm Ingersoll, who owns a building that houses his construction business and other tenants near the site, said he is concerned about the size of the facility.

"I think everything has to be worked out in harmony," he said.

The commission plans to discuss the issue during its June 26 meeting at 7 p.m. in Munroe Falls City Hall.

E-mail: kcasale@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-686-3917