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Senior housing project recommended, sent to Genoa council

September 21, 2018

GENOA – The first senior housing development in Genoa is a step closer to becoming a reality.

The city’s plan commission on Thursday night made a unanimous recommendation that city council approve rezoning for a 55-and-older housing project in the Riverbend subdivision, as proposed by Brian Grainger’s company, By Grainger.

Grainger requested that the Planned Unit Development for the land, owned by BMO Harris Bank, be amended so that the complex can be built toward the southern end of the subdivision, which is south of Route 72. If the project is ultimately approved by the council, in addition to the housing units, which will be in a quad arrangement – four units per building – a clubhouse will be built at the corner of Winding Trail and Riverbend Drive.

The housing units would line Stearn Drive, predominantly on the east side, as most of the properties on the left side are subject to an ongoing lawsuit, as well as the south side of Winding Trail and both sides of Forrest Lane.

The proposed amendments are as such: The Forrest Lane stretch was zoned for 102 age-restricted units, but Grainger wants to add another 13; the Stearn Drive area must be rezoned from single-family to include age-restricted properties, and Grainger wants the 53 lots platted to be increased to 60.

“The general tone of the residents was concern over, if there’s a concentration of senior housing, how will that affect response times,” the city’s management assistant, Alyssa Seguss, said Friday.

She said, however, that fire officials at the meeting said the department is staffed well enough and prepared for any shift in emergency calls.

Before the housing market crash in 2008, 12 lots were built along Forrest Lane before the developer went into bankruptcy, City Administrator Bill Ganek said.

“A project that’s sat half-finished, or really only partially finished, has a chance to be completed, and to be an asset to the city and our residents,” Ganek said.

He said no similar housing is available for seniors.

The proposal next goes before the city council, which meets the first and third Tuesday of each month. Seguss said at the very earliest, the council will vote on it at the Oct. 16 meeting, but the litigation over the land on Stearn Drive could stall matters.

“I’d be surprised if it goes before the council on the 16th, but you never know,” Seguss said.

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