The Canby Planning Commission earlier this month rejected a proposal for a proposed senior living development on the corner of 13th and Ivy streets, citing traffic and other concerns.
The project, Asteria Senior Living, proposes a two-story, 102-bed assisted living facility specializing in memory care, with four independent living duplexes also on site.
The applicant plans to offer 55 memory care beds on the first floor, while the 49 units upstairs would be reserved for other high-acuity patients who have not been diagnosed with dementia.
The property owners, Daniel and Petronella Donovan, of Donovan Investments, have operated a small licensed long-term care facility on Warner Parrott Road in Oregon City since 2006.
The 2.6-acre property is located on the southeastern corner of South Ivy Street and Southeast 13th — across the street from the Canby Adult Center and Hope Village, which also boasts an assisted living, post-acute rehab and memory care facility operated by Marquis Companies.
Marquis was one of the opponents to the project, represented by Zach Fogg, its vice president of operations.
In a letter to the Canby Planning Commission, Fogg noted that Marquis has long been a premier community partner with the city, as has Hope Village — which is also planning a major expansion.
Fogg said the Asteria project would have a “significant negative impact” on Marquis — especially its new memory care facility.
“We are very skeptical that an adequate market need exists at this location for additional units,” Fogg wrote.
“Please consider the needs of the seniors in the community and not approve this development. One strong and viable senior housing community with experienced operators is what this community continues to need.”
True or not, Planning Chair John Savory noted that the city cannot consider factors such as market demand when reviewing a land use application.
“We’re pretty constrained,” he said. “The economic impact on an existing business is not within our purview.”
However, commissioners had other concerns with the project, including the density of the development, traffic considerations and parking.
“I think the occupancy is a little high for the property as it sits,” explained Commissioner James Hieb. “So I won’t be making a motion [to approve].”
Commissioner Jeff Mills also feared the development was too large for the property’s zoning of low-density residential housing — which the Canby municipal code designates as R-1.
“I’m very uncomfortable with the mass of this building,” Mills said. “It’s a 56,000-square-foot structure that’s trying to look like an apartment building, and it’s sitting in R-1. That doesn’t add up to me, and I can’t go along with that.”
Commissioners had a lot of questions about the 61 parking spaces allotted for the independent living residents, staff and visitors.
The municipal code requires at least one parking space per two assisted living residents, which would translate to a minimum of 52 spaces for residents at the 104-bed facility alone.
But developers omitted these from their design, they explained, due to the fact that these residents would not be licensed to drive and would have no need for a vehicle on site.
Others, like Commissioner Jason Padden, voiced concerns about the impact the development would have on 13th and Ivy streets — and, particularly, the neighboring intersection.
Ultimately, commissioners voted unanimously to deny the proposal.
“We’ll send it back to the drawing board, folks,” Savory announced after the vote was in.
City Administrator Scott Archer told The Canby Current that the applicants have appealed the Planning Commission’s decision to the City Council. The hearing has not yet been scheduled.
One of the property’s previous owners had sought to rezone the parcel for a 38-unit townhouse development, but their project was also rejected by the Planning Commission, a decision councilors upheld in 2018.
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