By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer
NAUGATUCK — Representatives of a Fairfield-based commercial real estate development company Sept. 16 laid out their plans to the Zoning Commission for a senior assisted living and memory care facility on North Main Street.
Senior Living Development, LLC, is proposing to build a 60,700-square-foot, five-story facility at 491-501 North Main St. and 24 Wood St. The 1.26-acre plot of land is off North Main Street, between Wood Street and Myrtle Avenue. There is a single-family home on the land as well as a couple other homes that house rental units and a commercial office.
Mark De Pecol, CEO of Senior Living Development, said the company has been involved with senior assisted living facilities for eight years. He described most of the senior assisted facilities being developed as “luxury assisted living.” He said the proposed facility in Naugatuck is designed to be about 30% less expensive for residents with many of the same amenities.
“We realize there’s a need for assisted living for middle class; for the rest of us,” he said.
The Zoning Commission Sept. 16 opened a hearing on the special permit application for the facility.
The proposed facility would be for people 62 years old or older who need daily assistance, according to the application. There would be 116 bedrooms, 50 parking spaces, a loading bay and refuse area, the application states.
De Pecol said the residential apartments will have two private bedrooms with a shared living area, kitchen and bathroom. The facility will also have a dining area, bistro, media room, arts and crafts area, and a salon. There will also be a wellness center for residents to talk with their doctors over a smart TV, according to De Pecol.
Patrick Mixdorf, an architect with EGA PC Architects out of Newburyport, Mass., said four floors will be dedicated to assisted living apartments and one will be for apartments for people who need more care due to memory issues. The ground floor is dedicated to most of the common areas for residents, he said.
Mixdorf said the main entrance will be secured 24 hours a day to control who comes in and out. The base of the building will be done in brick, he said.
“The design itself is sort of trying to harmonize some contemporary and traditional elements to it,” Mixdorf said. “It isn’t trying to be splashy in any way. It’s not using exotic materials. It’s looking to be part of the community.”
De Pecol said the average expected age of residents is 85. He said some people at that age face issues with loneliness, depression and safety. He said assisted living facilities and ones with shared apartments can offer a sense of security and comradeship.
“We feel we’ve developed a product that’s really appropriate for the time and it’s a big growing demographic,” De Pecol said. “It’s just going to get bigger and bigger.”
There will be 65 to 75 employees over three shifts, with the largest shift having about 35 workers, according to the application. The application states that residents won’t have their own cars, adding any traffic to and from the facility would be from guests and workers.
Kermit Hua, a traffic engineer from KWH Enterprise in Meriden, said the facility is expected to add 22 trips during the morning peak hours and 30 trips in the afternoon peak hours to traffic in the area.
Genna Kupinska, a landscape architect from William Kenny Associates of Fairfield, said along with a privacy fence there will be natural buffers planted, including evergreen trees and shrubs, between the facility and neighboring properties.
The special permit application comes a few months after the Zoning Commission changed the regulations to allow for independent and assisted residential facilities for the elderly. Under the new regulations, such facilities are allowed in B-2, New Haven Road Design District and Rubber Avenue Design District zones through a special permit. The proposed site on North Main Street is a B-2 zone.
“This zone in North Main Street requires a residential, commercial or office space. Our building is a residential component, it’s a commercial component and it does have office space in it,” said attorney Kevin McSherry, who is representing Senior Living Development. “So, we sort of meet all of the requirements of the zone all at once. The facility itself is going to provide a great service for people it serves.”
McSherry said the company has received positive referrals from the inland wetlands, police, fire, and planning commissions. He said the company was still waiting to meet with the Water Pollution Control Board.
The project requires removing over 6,000 cubic yards or earth material from the site, which also needs approval from the Zoning Commission.
The commission continued the hearing on the facility to its Oct. 21 meeting at the Naugatuck Event Center and set a hearing on the excavation for 6:05 p.m. for the same night.