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Published: Friday, 4/9/2004

Senior housing project approved by city planners

The Toledo Plan Commission yesterday approved a 168-unit senior housing complex near Nebraska Avenue and Reynolds Road after the applicant agreed to add more green space.

Friendship Baptist Church, 5301 Nebraska Ave., plans to convert 16 acres of vacant property behind and on one side of the church into apartment units for seniors.

Also yesterday, the plan commission approved a change in the Toledo Commons shopping center to allow a small strip center along Glendale Avenue.

In both cases, the staff of the plan commission raised objections that were addressed by the developers.

The commission voted unanimously to allow the zoning change from single-family residential to two-family residential for the senior complex. The application still has to be approved by City Council.

The development will have 14 "quadplexes" - one-story cottage-style buildings housing four apartments each - and two three-story buildings containing one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. It will be served by a drive from Nebraska.

Stephen Herwat, executive director of the plan commission, originally recommended disapproval.

He said the project was isolated from amenities senior citizens would enjoy. In addition, Mr. Herwat said, it had too much paved surface that would not be "conducive to a relaxing environment."

City regulations require 10 percent of the project to be consolidated open space, he said, adding that much of the open space was inaccessible to the residents, including property on the other side of Deline Creek.

In response, the developers eliminated 90 parking spaces and replaced them with landscaped space that would include benches and walking paths through a wooded area.

James Jarvis, an architect for Hobbs & Black Associates, Inc., said the amenities will include a theater, community rooms, laundries, a salon, a bank branch, and a library.

The developer for the church is Sam Thomas, president of Star Development of Ann Arbor. Mr. Thomas said the project will be owned by a nonprofit affiliate of the church.

The application drew opposition from George and Phyllis Neuman, 5346 Nebraska, who said Nebraska already is overcrowded with traffic.

Mr. Herwat also objected because the site was designated under the Toledo 20/20 Comprehensive Plan for offices, not residences.

He said he withdrew his objections because he does not believe offices are a likely use for the property, which does not have frontage on Reynolds Road, and because of the revised site plan submitted two days ago.

Cedarwood Development, Inc., of Akron received site plan approval for a 1.5-acre development that will include two retail stores and a restaurant on Glendale.

Gary O'Nesti, director of development for the project at 2825 Glendale, said he is negotiating with potential tenants for the small strip center that will fit between the Tim Hortons and the Bob Evans restaurants.

Also approved by the plan commission were:

• The rezoning of 825 South Holland-Sylvania Rd. from neighborhood commercial to C-3 commercial for a car wash.

• A commercial plat and drive-thru pharmacy at the northwest corner of Alexis and Secor roads.

Attorney Jerome Parker, representing the owner, Barone Associates, said the developers have agreed to a 28-foot-wide landscaped strip to separate the planned Walgreen Pharmacy from Gany Mede Drive, a residential street. However, several neighbors objected to the planned construction.



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