Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Senior housing receives nod

by Lisa Seiser

May 19, 2011

With the economic downturn and large development in the city at a virtual standstill, Lake Geneva Plan Commissioners haven’t had much of a chance lately to put their hands on any projects.

But, on Monday night they finally had their opportunity.

The Plan Commission unanimously voted in favor of a general development plan for a 110-unit senior housing project located off of North Bloomfield Road and just east of Edwards Boulevard. The development is part of the Southland Farms project, which was the site of the old Lake Geneva Raceway.

“This is within the comprehensive plan and will be an asset to the community,” Mayor Jim Connors said prior to voting to approve the general development plan. “The public benefit far outweighs any requests for exemptions.”

The planner asked for a part of the building to exceed the city’s building height requirements. Also, during the 2006 planned development zoning process, the original approval was for 100 units.

The total property is 165 acres located between Townline and Bloomfield roads. A few years ago, Southland Farms received approval for a mixed use development, which included residential and senior living. However, because of the economic difficulties, beginning in 2007, the project has not been started until now.

The approval Monday night is only for the 9.5 acres that occupies the far southwest corner of the Southland Farms property.

The facility is expected to include 47 units for independent living, 43 for assisted living and 20 for memory care.

The proposed building will have three components, including a three-story independent living wing with a garage below. The north side will be a two-story living component with a center area for an amenity core and separate entrance.

According to the designer, the intent is to develop a facility that will offer supportive living services and on-site amenities that will assist the residents in the daily living activities, coordinate services by outside health care providers and monitor resident activities to help ensure their health, well being and safety.

The facility will be licensed by the state of Wisconsin as both a Community Based Residential Facility and a Residential Care Apartment Complex.

The designer also cited the importance of the location.

“The tranquility of Southland Farms will offer a peaceful setting for a continuum of supportive senior living. This rural context will also be carried forward in the design theme of the community. The proposed building and associated exterior hardscape amenities will be clad in horizontal and shake vinyl siding and stone. Exterior amenities will include walking paths, landscaped plantings, ponds and outdoor sitting areas. Residents will also be invited to share in the use of a club and community facility developed within the adjacent barn site.”

There was little discussion of the project by Plan Commissioners, most of which was positive.

“I like how this building looks on paper,” Plan Commissioner Doug Skates told the developers. “It will be neat for that location. Stay true to the building.”

Southland Farms developer Brian Pollard and others came to the Plan Commission in November 2010 to talk about the senior housing project.

The general development plan amendment still will require City Council approval.