3rd public hearing set for SWindsor assisted living plan

Katherine Eastman | Journal Inquirer

SOUTH WINDSOR — The Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a third public hearing Tuesday on the proposed 111,976-square-foot HarborChase assisted living facility in Evergreen Walk to address lingering concerns over traffic flow, parking, drainage and area plant life.

At the July 10 meeting, Planning Director Michele Lipe cited market studies demonstrating that existing assisted living facilities in the area are operating at a high level of occupancy and show the need for a new facility in the immediate five-mile radius.

The new building at 151 Buckland Road would include 111 living units, recreation areas, walking trails, a driveway, parking lots, and landscaping.

Harbor Retirement Associates LLC, based in Vero Beach, Florida, would manage the facility.

Kristen Solloway, vice president of community development with Manchester-based engineering consultant Fuss & O’Neill, and landscape architect Lindsey Cannavo, both attended the July 10 meeting to go over designs with the PZC.

Solloway said a request to determine the best configuration for the portion of Evergreen Way where people will have access to the facility has been sent to the traffic engineer for Evergreen Walk, LLC, because they own the portion of that road.

Planning officials said they’re leaning towards creating an all-way stop at a 3-way intersection there.

Town Engineer Jeff Doolittle said the facility’s entrance needs to be evaluated by a traffic engineer for the appropriate traffic control measures. He agreed, however, that an all-way stop or reduced speed limits could work in that location.

As for the commission’s drainage concerns, Solloway said the five catch basins on the property could be increased in size.

Additionally, Cannavo submitted a letter from their arborist who said a planned retaining wall might not be effective in protecting three silver maples on the property. The PZC would like the trees to be saved, and has proposed the developer clear the brush and stake the driveway edges and the tree’s root system to see if they’ll be harmed by construction.

The commission also had questions about parking at the facility during special events, such as Mother’s or Father’s Day, when many visitors are expected to flock to the facility. Developers are expected Tuesday to explain their plans for overflow parking and agreements they have with neighboring business for such events.

The commission Tuesday also expects to see renderings of the project from a street level perspective, review the latest market study, hear recommendations on traffic control measures, how to protect the trees on site, manage overflow parking, and proposed changes to the drainage system.

Evergreen Walk representative Alan Lamson will also talk about the site’s planned walking trails.

The public hearing is being held Tuesday in the Town Council chambers at 7:30 p.m., followed by the PZC’s regular monthly meeting, when the commission may vote on the site plan approval for the facility.

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