Intrigued city has questions on proposed senior community
A developer wants to open a comprehensive, age-in-place senior community in east Pearland that would be a first in the area to allow older adults to live out their golden years on a 62-acre complex with the ability to transition from apartments or single-family residences to assisted-living quarters or a certified memory care unit without ever moving off the site.
But potential extension of Industrial Drive as outlined in the city’s thoroughfare plan could pose an obstacle to the French Quarter project, said some on City Council at a Dec. 10 workshop meeting.
The age-in-place concept
“People make friends where they live,” said R. West Development Co. owner Renee West McGuire, who said her proposed French Quarter development would prevent older adults from having to move out of their community when they need to shift to assisted living.
“Their family is located further away from them; so we thought this would be a great age-in-place,” she said.
In a letter of intent to the city, R. West Development official Justin Barnett said renters or homeowners in the facility could make comfortable, concrete plans for future stages of life.
“This can provide a great level of comfort to families and take much of the stress out of the caregiving relationship,” he wrote.
The plan for the property is a lakeside senior living community that could house up to 320 residents in a complex including a three-story, 90-unit independent-living building; a two-story, 63-unit assisted-living facility and a single-story 28-unit memory care center.
In addition, planned to the south of those senior living facilities would be a subdivision of more than 160 lots for single-family homes for people age 55 and up.
The proposed community would include a clubhouse, a theater, pavilion with a pool, a system of wide sidewalks and trails, amenity lakes, a homeowners’ association, a dog park and open spaces. It would be a gated community with controlled entry, according to documents from the workshop.
The complex would span two tracts totaling 62 acres within the boundaries of Alvin Independent School District.
The name pays tribute to the historic French architecture of New Orleans.
Criticism of road extension idea
City Council and Planning and Zoning board members held the meeting to consider changing the zoning of the area from residential and light industrial to a mixed-use designation to allow for the community and the retail establishments it would include, according to a video recording of the meeting.
The development is planned for the west side of Pearland Parkway at Dixie Farm Road, just east of the dead-end of Industrial Drive and south of Towne Lake Estates, according to workshop documents.
The single-family homes, some of which have already been sold as empty lots and will cost around $250,000, will be owned by the occupants, McGuire said, but still benefit from the direct care from medical and support staff at French Quarter. If someone has surgery, for example, she said, the staff would help them stay in their home during recovery.
McGuire said demand for this type of project exists in Pearland and will only to increase.
“I don’t know where it’s been done here before,” she said. “We may be the first, if we’re able to do this. It’s a concept that’s really popular right now.”
A portion of the proposed complex and most of residential subdivision would sit directly in the path of Industrial Drive, according to the the city’s thoroughfare plan.
The drive is slated to connect with Pearland Parkway or Dixie Farm Road. But McGuire criticized that road extension plan.
“Industrial property has been around here for a long, long time and it has not sold, it has not developed,” she said at the meeting. “The demand is along (Beltway 8). That’s where the businesses want to go; that’s where the trucks want to go.”
“We’re hoping you find it’s not economically feasible (to extend Industrial Drive) and no one needs it.”
Some officials receptive to concept
City officials noted the extra demand the proposed community would place on water and sewer services and City Councilman Trent Perez said he saw problems with the plan that need to be fixed.
“The roadway network doesn’t work, the entrance doesn’t work — even if it is a private road it needs to perform like a public road,” he said in reference in to McGuire’s comment that the roadway entering the complex would be private.
The site was chosen for its proximity to the future Community of Faith Bible Church, which would be within walking distance, and a day center of the Forgotten Angels Foundation, a group that McGuire founded in 2001.
Forgotten Angels provides residential care for individuals with developmental, intellectual and physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular diseases, Down syndrome and autism.
City Councilman Adrian Hernandez said he is comfortable with the location but is not yet ready to form a final opinion.
Mayor Tom Reid expressed support for the facility, saying that nothing like it exists in Pearland.
“I think it would be beneficial if we could work this out,” he said.
The next step is for McGuire to come back to the city’s planning and zoning committee with solutions to some of the city’s concerns. If planning and zoning board members feel the solutions are sufficient, they will recommend that City Council discuss the project and the city would schedule the required public hearings.
City Councilman Woody Owens liked the idea of this type of community coming to Pearland.
“I’ve seen one similar to this off Westheimer and (Texas 6),” Owens said of a complex that housed retail areas for senior adults to shop for food and use salons and spas, crafting-making activities and other community-oriented spaces. “It’s got the three stages, I couldn’t believe it. It’s a nice place, it s a progressive place. They have everything. It’s a real community is what it is. I think it’s a great idea.”