August 21, 2014 at 9:28 a.m.

Assisted living site clears hurdle in Taylors Falls planning vote

Assisted living site clears hurdle in Taylors Falls planning vote
Assisted living site clears hurdle in Taylors Falls planning vote

It’s looking like the city of Taylors Falls will be the site of a new assisted living facility;  number four under the ownership of Community Asset Foundation.  Dave Pokorny presented his organization’s project to the Taylors Falls Planning Commission at a 90-minute public hearing Monday night this week, and members voted unanimously to recommend the city council approve the permit.  The council meets August 25.

“The Lodge of Taylors Falls” will be 24 units which will branch-off to the west, south and east from a core area providing dining, laundry facility, etc.  The units will be accessed by a new drive across from Caneday Street.

Pokorny said the site for the assisted living project is about 3.4 acres of a 13 acre parcel. There’s about nine acres legally created as a separate parcel,  set-aside for a future project he did not have details on yet.

An assisted living facility isn’t specifically defined as one of the allowed uses in the area, which is zoned “Small Town District.”

So the commissioners first determined that assisted living is similar enough to a nursing home to be considered under the city code as a Conditional Use.  (Code does allow nursing homes to get CU Permits.)

Then the commissioners, after holding the public hearing Monday night this week, told the developers the city wants to see as many trees preserved as possible on the wooded parcel (see aerial of site, below).  

Still to be determined is,  if the county highway department will require a right turn lane into the site off southbound Mulberry Street, which is a county road.  The Taylors Falls planning commissioners are recommending the turn lane.  The platting process also must allow for a deed to the county for the west side of Mulberry (a 50 foot wide strip.)  The county has only an easement for the roadway at this time.

Pokorny said the project will break ground this fall and hopefully some sitework can get underway.  The construction would go over the winter (no blasting is required) and the occupancy is scheduled for early summer 2015, he said.

The plan is to have Good Samaritan manage this facility and eventually the idea is that the non-profit would buy this project outright, Pokorny explained.

City consultant William Weber explained the retention basin for run-off and parking lot design and the fact that accepted traffic engineering formulas calculate very few trips per day for a neighborhood like this, where only a minority of residents will even drive.  Most  traffic will be visitors and staff, Weber added.

Residents nearby the project told the planning commission that Mulberry Street is a hazardous stretch already.  It’s a well used alternative when downtown Taylors Falls mainstreet is congested.

Jodi Wolff stated Monday night,  and was backed up by neighbor Laurie Russell, that adding even the staff estimated 70 additional trips per day on that roadway is ill-advised. Russell asked for clarification on city code that refers to 12 units in this zone.  Staff responded the code is 12 units PER ACRE.

Most citizens at the hearing, however, were concerned with buffering the impact of the 26 foot tall “Lodge of Taylors Falls” and losing their current view of the woods.  

Pokorny assured them there will be 75 feet of wooded area on the south side along Caneday Court “we won’t touch at all.”

Amanda Kittleson also informed the developer there’s potential for oak wilt to spread and the city needs to work closely on the timing of any oak tree removal.

 










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