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City council discusses assisted living facility

If all goes as appears, the city council will approve an assisted living development, complete with an Alzheimers unit, when the group meets later this month. Members heard a proposal for the development during the Sept. 8 work session.

A representative of Americare was in town to pitch a concept for a 38-unit, two building complex to be built on 3.07 acres adjacent to Maple Valley Drive. If approved, the facility would be built on property annexed into the city limits, divided off from the cattle farm which sits on both sides of Maple Valley Drive and west of U.S. 67.

Some neighbors of the planned facility turned out to get some questions answered. The Americare representative met with them prior to the council meeting. During the meeting Mayor Stuart “Mit” Landrum asked if the neighbors had any further questions. A spokesman for the group stood up and said their questions had been answered and they thought Americare would be a good neighbor.

The company spokesman said the plan calls for a 22-unit assisted senior living building, and a 16-unit assisted living Alzheimer unit. The larger building would sit closest to Maple Valley Drive just south of a line of existing office buildings. Access would be from Maple Valley Drive, and no provision would be made for purchasing additional acreage in the future to expand. The spokesman said the plan does have a provision to add another 12 or so units with small additions to the two planned buildings.

Initially the new assisted living facility would employ about 12 to 15 employees.

The meeting agenda also called for holding a first and second reading of the annexation request and then voting on the matter immediately. City Administrator Greg Beavers said the hope was to expedite the necessary city action for the developer.

But legal counselor Scott Reid put a halt to the “fast track” plan of pushing the annexation through in one night. He said an existing guideline requires a 14 day public hearing period for complaints or concerns to be filed between the public hearing and the council taking action. That said, the council postponed legislation calling for a vote on the annexation until later in the month.

Topics discussed at the work session included traffic flow on Maple Valley Drive, noise and light concerns, and stormwater runoff issues that might occur.

In a separate move, the council voted later in the meeting to reinstate a 4-way stop sign at the crest of the hill on Maple Valley Drive near the entrance to Buffalo Wild Wings. The council just voted in August to remove the stopsigns on Maple Valley Drive at that intersection. The decision to put them back up came more from a concern for existing traffic flow on Ridge Crest Drive and entering the Buffalo Wild Wings parking area versus future traffic concerns for the proposed development.

City workers had the signs back in place by Friday morning.

The council also took up a long list of requests for 90-day trials for traffic control devices or parking restrictions. The two which drew the most conversation were the reinstallation of the stop sign on Maple Valley Drive, and a request to make it illegal to park along either side of Ridge Crest Drive. A group of people living in the subdivision accessed by Ridge Crest said people working in a medical building near the corner of Ridgecrest and Maple Valley Drive have opted to park along both sides of the city street instead of utilizing a parking lot built solely for workers and patrons of the medical facility.

One of the residents which uses the street often said she and others had talked to the owners of the building and asked that workers be told to use the parking lot and not the street for parking. She said the conversations have been futile, and the workers insist of parking on the street to have a shorter walk into the building. The council voted to make both sides of the street “no parking” on a 90-day trial period before taking more permanent action.

In another unforeseen action, it was suggested the council look at making Liberty Street a two-way street from Franklin west to A Street. The city administrator said Public Works Director Larry Lacy presented the idea based on his observation that making Liberty open to two way traffic for that one block would take a lot of congestion off the A Street from Liberty to Columbia streets crossover.

The council will explore the move further and possibly take action at an upcoming meeting.

The meeting ended with a first reading of legislation which would make end-of-year adjustments to the existing budget and adopt a new budget for the coming fiscal year.

Finance Director Michelle Daniel said the proposed plan is a $7.2 million budget which would result in an estimated $95,600 spending deficit by the end of the fiscal year. She said the city coffers have surpluses to cover the planned loss and still maintain adequate balances. The $7.2 million is only the general fund and does not include designated accounts such as electricity and water and sewer.

The council will meet next in regular session on Sept. 26 at 6:30 p.m.

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