SAGAMORE HILLS — An expansion of Brentwood Health Care Center on Route 82 into a continuing care retirement community remains in the works, and is contingent on whether the township revises its zoning code.

For several months, the township’s zoning commission has been discussing changes to the code as it relates to senior living, senior care and continuing care communities.

One provision is that at least 80 percent of residents on a seniors campus must be 55 or older. Guidelines such as amount of acreage required for a campus and height of buildings also are included.

The changes, which must be approved by the Board of Trustees, also would govern any other developer which chooses to build and operate similar retirement communities.

At the panel’s May 29 meeting, legal counsel Jeffrey Snell said the commission has nearly completed the senior living / care zoning amendments, which set specific guidelines for developing such facilities, and a final draft could go to the board at its June 25 meeting.

No other details about the proposed senior living / care zoning amendments were available from township officials at presstime.

Once the panel is comfortable with the final draft, it would be submitted to the Summit County Planning Commission, which would review it and send any recommendations for changes back to the zoning commission.

A public hearing is necessary before the board adopts the amendments. "We haven’t have a lot of public input yet on this issue," Snell said. "Surrounding residents could have some concerns about lighting, removal of trees and traffic."

Snell added once the board OKs the zoning changes, they would go to township trustees for approval sometime this fall, and if approved, Brentwood could move forward with its expansion project after that.

Brentwood President-CEO Brent Classen said he would like to kick off the project next spring. Withers Design Group is handling the project’s architectural aspects.

Brentwood’s existing facilities are on 10 acres, and Classen has said the business hopes to acquire 36 acres to the east from the Cleveland Clinic to proceed with the expansion.

He said the sale is pending analysis of the property’s underlying structure. "The rock is expensive to excavate," he noted, adding the investment in construction costs is currently being analyzed.

The Brentwood and Cleveland Clinic properties, along with the adjacent Elmcroft of Sagamore Hills assisted living facility to the west, are currently zoned for commercial use.

Classen is proposing a campus similar to Laurel Lake in Hudson and other area facilities, and he said the project would be developed in three phases.

There would be 128 units in the existing skilled nursing and assisted living facility, with additions providing 37 memory care units and 25 skilled nursing care units.

The former Sagamore Hills Medical Clinic’s emergency room / express care building would be demolished and a second existing building there would be expanded to house 100 independent living units and a "lodge" that would serve as a community center.

The independent living facility would include amenities such as continental breakfasts, dinners, light housekeeping, activities and transportation, and would be connected to the lodge and an activities barn.

Other plans include three buildings with a total of 72 independent living units not connected to the lodge and activities barn, and 18 active senior living buildings toward the back of the property.

Each active senior living building would contain three units, with up to six people living in each, plus attached garages. 

"This facility would be state of the art so it can be competitive far into the future," Classen said. "It would be one of the newest senior living campuses in the Cleveland metro area.

"When complete, Brentwood would be a continuing care retirement community with rehab, skilled nursing, assisted living, memory care and independent living with and without services."

The Classen family has been in the health care field since the 1930s. Brentwood Health Care Center opened in March 1989.

Reporter Ken Lahmers can be reached at 330-541-9400 ext. 4189 or klahmers@recordpub.com