2010-02-14 / Front Page

Lapeer planners give nod to assisted living campus

BY JEFF HOGAN NEWS EDITOR

LAPEER — A Louisvillebased company that provides senior living and long-term health care services sailed through three public hearings Thursday evening on its way to construct and operate a 57,411-square-foot facility in Lapeer.

Developers representing Trinity Health Services were on hand at a Lapeer Planning Commission meeting to explain and field questions regarding the proposed 90-bed facility slated to start construction this May. The project, the company’s 58th facility, is on target to be constructed on a vacant city-owned 8.6-acre parcel on the south side of DeMille Boulevard to be located west of the Meijer store near where the city’s linear pathway crosses the road.

The project calls for a 23,528-square-foot wing of the expansive single-floor building to house 40 assisted living beds, with an additional 33,883-square-foot section to house 50 skilled-care patients to be connected by courtyards. The Trinity Health campus, when complete and open next December or January, is expected to result in 50 to 60 full-time jobs.

In order for the project to proceed, the first order of business for the evening was to amend the city’s master plan designation for the parcel from its current single-family residential to multiple family residential.

Linda Jackman, the city’s planning director, reminded commission members that the city’s master plan called for that area of DeMille Boulevard to serve as a transitional span between the commercial shopping centers to the east and single-family residential homes the city would like to see developed behind and to the west of the proposed development.

Hearing no opposition to the master plan amendment request, city planners approved the motion. Likewise, planners also unanimously approved a request to rezone the property from R-4 One-Family Residential to RM Multiple Family Residential as well as a special conditional use permit.

While in favor of the development, Commissioner Bill Ogden cautioned the board and city staff present to keep in mind that any kind of new development on DeMille has the potential to add even more traffic to an already busy and congested east end of the road near the intersection with Main Street (M-24).

“We should be prudent and be aware of the added traffic this will put on the road.” He urged fellow city planners to consider that some time in the near future the city is going to have to find some kind of relief to the everincreasing traffic volume on DeMille, which also serves as one of the main routes to Lapeer Community Schools’ new Rolland-Warner Middle School and the Lapeer campus of Mott Community College.

Jackman said the development could be up for a siteplan review and subsequent approval at the planning commission’s April meeting in time for construction to get underway in May, barring any complications.

Founded in 1997, Trilogy currently operates health campuses throughout Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and a growing presence in Michigan. The company operates assisted-living and senior housing campuses in Battle Creek and Commerce Township, with another proposed development in Okemos.

“Trilogy sees Michigan as a major new market, and looks forward to being a part of the Lapeer community,” said Terry Tracy, vice president and construction manager for DMK Development Group, also of Louisville.

Bill Sprague, a planning commissioner and mayor of Lapeer, concluded the meeting by saying, “I would like to thank you guys for having the confidence to invest in the city,” and offered continued assistance from city staff to expedite the project.

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