Cary trustees talk details of affordable senior housing project as vote nears

Some trustees also question developer's handling of zoning requests

CARY – Village trustees discussed a new layout for a proposed senior housing project that includes a 1,200-square-foot community room that could be used by the village and Cary Park District for senior activities.

The concept was presented by David Burg of the developer, PIRHL, at the Committee of the Whole meeting last week.

A vote on whether to allow the proposed 62-unit development at the south corner of Three Oaks Road and Feinberg Drive will likely happen April 19.

Last Tuesday, trustees debated the merits of the potential community space, discussed a developer donation to the village and questioned the way the developer had handled zoning requests.

The community room was added at the request of village staff, who said privatizing the village’s senior center could be an option to eventually replace the Kraus Senior Center.

“This is a little bit of an add-on, but the point is we take this very seriously, this being the partnership with the village,” Burg said. “This should be a win-win for everyone involved.”

Trustees were divided on whether they wanted to privatize the senior community space.

Trustee Rick Dudek said he felt it was important to discuss a potential donation from the developer, citing precedent from developments such as the Pedcor affordable housing project.

Burg said the cost of the community space and accompanying parking spaces would be about $209,000.

Village Administrator Chris Clark said if the development is approved, the developer’s donation would likely be larger if the community room is not part of the final plan.

Trustees Jeff Kraus and Jim Cosler also questioned the developer’s approach to zoning requests. The zoning board in December gave a negative recommendation to variances requested by PIRHL, but the Cary Village Board sent the project back to the zoning board before taking a vote.

At its second zoning board hearing, PIRHL requested a text amendment to the zoning code and a conditional-use permit and received a positive recommendation from a reconfigured zoning board.

“Previously, he went through the process and was denied [variances],” Kraus said. “Now we’re seeing these changes to ordinances. It seems like we’re opening the door up and making it a lot easier to get something pushed through.”

Community Development Director Brian Simmons and Village Attorney Adam Simon said that any developer could request zoning amendments and such requests were not uncommon.

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