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Cary affordable senior housing project moves to planning stage after close vote

CARY – Despite mixed reviews and concerns from some Village Board members, the Committee of the Whole voted, 4-3, Tuesday to allow a proposal for affordable senior housing to advance to the planning stage.

The project, dubbed Cary Senior Housing, was presented by David Burg of PIRHL, a development company in Cleveland, Ohio.

The 68-unit apartment building is being proposed for a 3.91-acre site at the southwest corner of Three Oaks Road and Feinberg Drive, just north of Jewel-Osco and west of the post office.

In his presentation, Burg cited the desire for senior housing expressed in Cary’s comprehensive plan.

“What we’re trying to do is serve a very localized senior population that just doesn’t have housing choices, seniors who live on a fixed income,” Burg said. “You’ve got those seniors here in your market area, and those seniors are overhoused.”

Trustees David Chapman, Rick Dudek and Ellen McAlpine and Village President Mark Kownick voted in favor of moving the project forward, saying the plan needed work but could be one piece of solving the senior housing issue.

Trustees Jim Cosler, Kim Covelli and Jeffery Kraus voted “no.”

“When people came to those comprehensive plan meetings and said they were looking for more senior housing in the community, I don’t think they were looking for another big box apartment complex,” Kraus said.

Other concerns included the need to rezone the land, the fact the proposed commitment only was 30 years and the income restrictions would exclude a number of seniors.

“I truly believe we can attract projects that are market-rate that are still affordable, so I struggle with this project, particularly at this location, where we’re giving up a piece of potentially commercial developable land that could bring us some taxes, and we’re giving it to somebody that gets preferred tax treatment,” Cosler said.

Dudek noted the land has sat vacant for the 13 years he has lived in Cary and had not garnered interest other than a proposed hotel that never went through.

“The first five or six [years], when we had some of the best economic times we’ve had in the United States in my lifetime, nothing happened on that site,” Dudek said.

Burg said PIRHL would like to submit an official planning packet for the site to begin the rezoning process in November, have the site rezoned by February and begin construction in 2017.

The developer envisions the facility being at full capacity by the end of 2018.

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