The Mentor Planning Commission Thursday unanimously rejected a developer’s proposed construction of a 66-bed Alzheimer’s Memory Care facility at Newell Creek’s planned unit development after hearing from homeowners who strongly opposed the proposal.
Newell Creek Development Co. of Broadview Heights asked the planning commission to change the Newell Creek Development Plan, a planned unit development bordered by Center Street, Johnnycake Ridge Road, Norton Parkway and Garfield Road.
As a planned unit development, which was approved by the planning commission in 2004, Newell Creek land use features primarily a mix of residential townhomes, single-family homes, an assisted living home, a residential retirement complex, a commercial/office area and undeveloped land.
The Broadview Heights-based developer, represented by Neil F. Brennan, proposed to build the memory care facility on undeveloped land at the southwest corner of Johnnycake Ridge Road and Center Street. The land use had been approved earlier for the development of 28 two-story townhouses.
He argued that the facility is compatible with the surrounding land use.
“This is a residential facility for people who have memory problems,” he said. “It is not a nursing home.” He also said the memory care center is compatible with approved land use for an assisted living facility and retirement home on Center Street.
But Newell Creek homeowners weren’t buying the developer’s argument.
“As an elected homeowner representative, I must state that the residents of Newell Creek are not in favor of this proposal to construct the 66-bed memory care facility in the area previously approved by the planning commission for 28 single-family attached townhouses,” said Harry Hopes, the head of the Newell Creek Homeowners Association. “It is the opinion of the (Newell Creek) homeowners association that this is definitely an encroachment and represents a substantial departure from the previously approved plan.”
Among the 20 people who attended the planning commission’s meeting, most seemed to agree with Hopes and applauded his remarks. Two other Newell Creek residents also spoke in opposition to the developer’s proposal.
After the commission voted to reject the Alzheimer’s Memory Care facility, Brennan was visibly upset.
“I hope that what we have seen tonight is not something that is a bigoted address against Alzheimer’s patients because there are enough of us who will face that in our future and I hope that is not what we saw tonight,” Brennan said, addressing the planning commission.
Some Newell Creek residents said they were insulted by Brennan’s remarks, saying their opposition to the facility was not against people with Alzheimer’s disease. Instead, they opposed the facility because it was not compatible with Newell Creek’s development plan.
Greg Elmore, who represents the Memory Care facility operator, was not upset with the planning commission’s decision or the residents who spoke against the proposal. He also said his company will look for a new location to build the facility in Mentor because it is an underserved market.
In other action, the planning commission unanimously approved a preliminary site plan for the construction of a 7,569-square-foot O’Reilly Automotive Store at 6275 Center Street. The commission also approved a conditional use permit that allows Chick-fil-A restaurant at 9611 Mentor Avenue to hold a classic car show every Tuesday from June to September.