Senior living facility, additional residences proposed at Top Shelf Development

September 22, 2018

SPEARFISH — A senior living facility, single-family homes, and duplexes are part of the vision for the currently vacant 19.5 acres of the northwest corner of Top Shelf Development in the McGuigan Ranch Addition, which is the topic of a public hearing before the Spearfish Planning Commission Oct. 2.

The request, by applicant ETR, LLC, David and Spencer Rossi, includes the rezoning of the parcel, off of Green Spot Lane and Talisker Avenue, from agriculture and R1 single-family to R3 multifamily residential for a two-phase development. The first phase would include the construction of a senior living facility, which would consist of independent living, assisted living, and memory care. Phase 2 would include single-family homes and duplexes, to be built at a later time, with approximately 30 residences expected, and the applicants offered to sign a development agreement specifying that with the change of zoning, no multifamily housing would be constructed in phase 2.

A common open space is proposed to buffer the senior living community and the future single-family and duplex locations.

City Planner Jayna Watson explained that the R3 multifamily zoning is requested for the single-family and duplex location on the parcel so that two residences may be attached and platted on separate lots without each lot required to be 8,000 square-feet. R3 zoning essentially does not have minimum lot size requirements for individual dwellings; any lot size is acceptable as long as setbacks, parking, and lot coverage maximums are met, the staff report describes. Standard single-family and duplex setbacks of 25 feet in the front and rear and eight feet on the sides would apply to phase 2.

The final location of the senior living facility would be governed by setbacks, parking, and open space requirements of the R3 zoning district, and single-family and duplex lot layout is unknown at this time but would be reviewed at the time of preliminary plat submittal if rezoning is approved.

In 2016, the planning commission recommended approval of a multiuse development review district (DRD)-zoned project for Top Shelf Development that included a senior living facility in the area now in question; in November 2016, the Spearfish City Council voted 3-3 on the request, with the mayor breaking the tie and voting not to approve the request. The developers submitted a request to rezone 58 acres of the project area from agriculture to single-family residential to allow for 91 single-family lots, which was approved in 2017.

Streets and utilities have since been built at Top Shelf, along with dedicated left-turn lanes into the development on both McGuigan Road and Highway 14. “Staff does not consider there to be any remaining traffic issues to be resolved given these improvements exist,” the staff report states. “The local street network serving this site has been built and is adequate to serve this property.”

Homes are under construction now in 58 acres of the development zoned single-family, with several already completed.

In addition, a 20-foot-high and 80-foot-wide berm has been constructed along the north and west perimeter to buffer the development from neighbors, and trees and native grasses and vegetation would be planted on the berm, with additional trees planted along Green Spot Lane and Talisker Avenue, the staff report states.

Spencer Rossi addressed the commission Tuesday and said that it has always been the dream of her and her husband “to create a neighborhood where residents can live, work, volunteer, and play together; a neighborhood that facilitates and encourages the interaction of generations …”

She brought up for topics they felt were pertinent to the request: Is it reasonable to have a senior living facility at Top Shelf? What’s the buffer from other land uses? Is there an economic impact/is it important and useful to Spearfish? And what commitments are they as developers willing to do?

“We see other neighborhoods in our city that have this (senior living facility), such as Edgewood Vista and Sandstone Manor, to name a few. In other neighborhoods, we also see the combination of other land uses and densities, so it’s not a foreign concept to Spearfish,” she said.

Rossi showed photos of the berm along the perimeter of the northwest corner and offered the example of the berms at Elkhorn Ridge Resort, off of Highway 85 near Exit 17, in terms of what the hope is once the vegetation is planted.

“It was put in place to create privacy for the surrounding … neighbors and creates that buffer that the comprehensive plan encourages,” she said.

Rossi added that the senior living facility would provide jobs, tax revenue, and a benefit to the community. Once fully staffed, the facility is expected to employ around 50 part- and full-time employees, she said.

“Finally, in an attempt to alleviate the fear of the unknown, we have made the following commitments. We’re willing to commit to a development agreement … so that the project that gets built is what we’re saying, not that we rezone to R3, do a switcheroo, and something else goes in its place,” she said, adding that they would meet the covenant requirements for exterior materials, height restrictions, etc.

“We’re excited about this project,” Rossi concluded.

Commission Chair Barb Zwetzig asked who would be operating the senior living facility, and Rossi said that they would be the majority owner and operator of the facility.

Commissioner Jim Hopewell referred to the 2016 DRD rezoning request and information recorded in meeting minutes and questioned why the city council would approve a similar request when it previously denied the DRD request.

Rossi explained that many changes were made to the plan since that DRD request; the initial concept plan showed an area of commercial use, which was later removed, and the senior living portion showed three buildings and an outbuilding taking up the area in question, without any single-family or duplex locations included.

“So there is a difference in what we presented, not in concept for end result, but in design,” she said.

However, after the DRD request was denied, the single-family rezoning of the 58 acres was approved.

Watson reminded the commission that the request stands as a new request to be judged on its own merits.

“What we’re doing today is the request as presented, not necessarily contrast and compare to a (previous) development proposal …” she said.

Commissioner Dan Green commented that the previous plat was approved and that things are often modified as larger developments build out as conditions, such as the housing market, change.

“As a property owner, (the Rossis have) the right to come back through the process to make a determination of what they might want to do with the 19 acres … and (they’re) going to go through a public hearing on that issue,” he said. “Regardless of what the minutes said at that time, doesn’t have any bearing on what we’re trying to do.”

Commissioner Greg Kruskamp agreed that the commission’s action was to set a public hearing and added that he would like to see the details of the development agreement before the commission provides a recommendation to the city council. He asked whether a development agreement remained on a property if it were to sell to a different owner, and Watson said, yes, the agreement is binding to successive property owners.

She added, “I just want to make it very clear that your consideration of this request is based on the comprehensive plan. What was committed to in previous minutes is not under consideration. Your review has to be directed to whether or not the Rossis in their application have convinced you … that they are compliant to these land use strategies … The fact of what the minutes said two years ago is a moot point. You need to determine and make your recommendation based on the comprehensive plan.”

Kruskamp made a motion to set the public hearing for Oct. 2, which was seconded by Commissioner Larry Vavruska and approved by Kruskamp, Vavruska, Green, and Commissioner Drew Skjoldal. Hopewell voted nay, and Commissioner Toby Bordewyk abstained, citing a conflict of interest as he is an adjacent property owner.

Owners in city limits within 200 feet of the parcel would be notified of the request and public hearing, and Lawrence County Planning and Zoning has been notified.

The planning commission meets at 3 p.m. Oct. 2 in Spearfish City Hall.

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