The Stillwater City Council approved the conceptual plan for Croix Bay senior living facility on Long Lake Tuesday night, but denied the zoning amendment requests for a taller development than is currently allowed.
The original Croix Bay plans called for construction of one building to be about six inches taller than the 35 feet currently allowed for approval of special use permits for senior living projects.
After hearing more than four hours of public comments in the past two weeks about the proposed $60 million development, the council appeared to favor the idea of a senior living facility at the location, but had reservations about the height and the density of the current proposal.
“I have a concern with height. I also have a concern of density,” Council Member Mike Polehna said. “I’ve walked the property, and it seems like we’re bloating something that we previously approved.”
Polehna said he has received many calls from senior citizens who are concerned about the long waiting lists and shortage of senior housing in the area if something happened to them or their spouse.
“I understand we have a shortage of senior housing, but it seems to me like we’re pigeon-holing something that is way too dense for that location,” Polehna said. “I wouldn’t want it behind my house. If it stayed out on the county road like we originally planned it, I’m OK with it. But if you start coming into the neighborhoods, you’re changing the whole thing…
“I think we need to do it right,” he continued. “I’m really worried about ramrodding too much stuff into one area.”
The council’s action allows Northland Real Estate Group to move forward with plans for their Croix Bay concept at the location; make modifications to the proposed height and density of the development; and provide more detailed project plans addressing parking, land use and environmental studies to the council for consideration at a later date.
“Development is going to happen,” Council Member Tom Weidner told the crowd filling the council chambers. “We’re going to try to do it as respectfully as we possibly can.”
As proposed, Croix Bay is a 234-unit, multiple-building project that would offer a range of living options, including independent living, senior cooperatives, assisted living and memory care units.
The project proposal also includes plans for a coffee shop, childcare facility and other small business space, the construction of a Gazebo, a proposed pedestrian trail along Long Lake and public green space.
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