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Special Exception

Staff Report

April 16, 2009



Special Exception

Staff Report

April 16, 2009


Petitioner, with consent of owner Derrin Sorenson and represented by Jason King, is requesting a special exception for a residential care facility in the R3 zone (SIC 83). The 3-story facility will operate 24 hours per day, 7 days per week and consist of 99 assisted living units, 32 memory care units and the potential for an additional 30 assisted living units. The property is located at the northwest corner of McCarty Lane and CR 550E, Perry 30 (NW) 23-3.


The site is zoned R3 as is adjacent land to the north and south. Property across CR 550 is zoned R1B and land southwest of the interstate is zoned MR, Medical Related. PDRS zoning is in place farther to the north from petitioner’s site.

This property and much of the surrounding land was part of an 812 acre rezoning filed by a developer as 15 different rezone cases in 1999 (Derrin Sorrenson, Z-1881 to Z-1895). Much of the existing zoning pattern east of the interstate and along the proposed McCarty Lane extension was established at that time.

The site currently has several farm buildings located right at the corner of CR 550 and McCarty; the remaining portion of the property was most recently used as farmland. All surrounding property is likewise either currently unimproved, or is being farmed. Southwest of the interstate is the Arnett Clarian Hospital. Several single-family subdivisions exist approximately ½ mile to the north. An undeveloped PD called Hawthorne Meadows, containing 178 single-family lots, was approved for land just to the north of this site in 2003.

In the past decade there have been no special exceptions filed in the vicinity of this request.
The site plan submitted shows a three-story, U-shaped building facing the corner, with an L-shaped one-story addition to the north. The three-story portion of the building would house 99 “residential care” units. The one-story portion would provide 32 “memory care” units. A proposed three-story “future residential care” expansion has been indicated on the site plan which would house 30 additional units. This future expansion area has been shown to the rear of the building, extending flush with the southwestern side of the proposed building.
The site plan shows a 24 square foot freestanding monument type sign which would be installed at the southeast corner of the property. The area of the sign is well within UZO sign size limits for this site.

Currently, McCarty Lane, classified as a rural primary arterial, comes to an end at a “T” intersection with CR 550 E, which is classified as a rural local road. County Highway has plans to extend McCarty Lane to the northeast eventually connecting to SR 26 E. The County is currently purchasing property for this road project; construction should begin by the end of this year, or the beginning of next year.

There are 90 parking spaces shown on the site plan. The UZO requires a total of 53 spaces: one space per each employee on the largest shift (According to petitioner’s representative, there will be 20 employees on the largest shift.) plus one per 5 clients (161 units divided by 5 makes a total of 33 parking spaces).
The only access proposed for the property is from CR 550 E approximately 230’ north of the McCarty Lane intersection. This proposed entrance was moved farther to the north of the intersection at the County Highway Department’s request. A driveway permit from County Highway will be required prior to issuance of the ILP (improvement location permit).

The property is just outside of the city; however city utilities are nearby. An agreement regarding utilities has been reached between the land owner and the developer of the proposed facility. Lafayette has an approved set of construction plans for new sewer and water mains which would serve this site. Also a utility easement was recently accepted by the Board of Works.

Drainage approval from the County Drainage Board will be required.

According to the petition, the proposed facility would, “provide an assisted living option for elderly residents of all incomes, though the focus is for residents of lower income.” The 99 units within the “residential care” portion of the building will each have “a full bathroom…and a kitchenette with sink, microwave oven and refrigerator.” The “memory care wing” will house 32 units and “will provide apartments for residents with dementia.” The petition further states that, “Our dementia care is the same as the residential care portion of our facility with only minor additions. There is no more intensive nursing or skilled services provided in this wing, and licensing is the same.” This means that this use is not considered a nursing home (SIC 805).

The petition also states that, “transportation for scheduled group shopping and other community and social activities” will be provided.
Petitioner plans to subdivide the land sometime in the future and sell the western portion of the property.
At its meeting on April 1, the Executive Committee of the Area Plan Commission voted that granting this request would not substantially adversely affect the Comprehensive Plan.
Regarding the ballot items:

  1. Section 3.1 of the Unified Zoning Ordinance DOES authorize the special exception for SIC 836, Residential Care Facility in the R3 zoning district.

And it is staff’s opinion that:

  1. The requirements and development standards for the requested use as prescribed by the Unified Zoning Ordinance WILL be met. Required setbacks, height and parking can be met. No buffering is required.

  2. Granting the special exception WILL NOT subvert the general purposes served by the Ordinance. There will continue to be a great need for this type of use in the community.

  3. Granting the special exception will not materially and permanently injure other property or uses in the same district and vicinity because of:

  1. Traffic generation: The parking shown on the site plan more than adequately meets the requirements for an assisted living facility. According to the petition, “less than five residents are expected to [still be] driving.” It further states that, “vehicles to the site will be limited mostly to employees and visitors, with occasional deliveries.”

  2. Placement of outdoor lighting: Standard lighting is proposed in the parking area, and “wall-mounted lights will be provided on the face of the building at the front courtyard and rear patio area. Site lighting is designed to have zero foot-candle at the property line,” according to the petition.

  3. Noise production: Typically no noise would be produced outside of the facility.

  4. Hours of operation: 24 hours per day, seven days per week is normal at such a facility.



Note: A special exception approval ceases to be valid if the use is not established within one year of the date that the special exception was granted.

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