PALMER TWP., Pa. – Palmer Township's supervisors voted Monday to oppose a plan for a senior residence on Corriere Road, citing questions about the project and safety concerns.
The supervisors directed Solicitor Charles Bruno to convey their opposition at the township's zoning hearing board meeting Tuesday, where Easton Senior Living LLC's plan for a 145-bed facility will be reviewed.
The 4.4-acre site at 3701 Corriere Road is near Walmart on Route 248, and is in an industrial/commercial zoning district. The plan would require a lot of relief from Palmer's regulations, Zoning Administrator Jim Raudenbush said. The residential use is not allowed in that district, and the size of the building is a problem.
"The height really seems to be the sticking point," he said. The "life care" center would have five stories and be 75 feet high, or 15 feet above the height allowed by exception.
The L-shaped building would also be closer to the street and neighboring properties than allowed. The number of residents who might be accommodated is also an issue. The plan calls for 37 units per acre, when 20 are permitted, and 145 beds total.
Fire Commissioner Stephen Gallagher said the township's aerial truck is not prepared to evacuate senior citizens from a 75-foot-high building.
"We have our apparatus set up for a 65-foot maximum height building," he said. Gallagher also said that the plan does not provide sufficient access for emergency vehicles.
Supervisor Chairman David Colver said the residential use, the height, the density of the housing and the variances sought to reduce property setbacks all weigh against the project. Bruno agreed.
"You have grounds for defeating a variance request for both a use variance and these dimensional variance issues," Bruno said.
Palmer has been working on a new zoning ordinance — a project delayed because the COVID-19 pandemic has made it impossible holding large meetings to gain public input. However, Bruno said any potential changes are not an issue now, as only the current ordinance applies.
At an earlier meeting of the supervisors, Colver said the project would need a lot of review, perhaps as many as eight meetings.
The supervisors agreed unanimously to ask Bruno and Gallagher to attend the zoning meeting, with Jeffrey Young, K. Michael Mitchell, Robert E. Smith and Ann-Marie Panella voting with Colver.
The Palmer Township Zoning Hearing Board will meet via Zoom on Tuesday, April 6 at 7 p.m.