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A special meeting of the Board of Adjustment of the Township of Roxbury was held on the above date at 7:30 p.m. with Chairperson Gail Robortaccio presiding.  After a salute to the Flag, Ms. Robortaccio read the “Open Public Meetings Act”.

 

BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:  Gail Robortaccio, Robert Kurtz, Mark Crowley, Kathy DeFillippo, Joyce Dargel, Scott Meyer, Barbara Kinback, Heather Darling.

 

ABSENT:  Robert Church.

 

BA-4-05 – MERRY HEART NURSING HOME – AMENDED SITE PLAN FOR PROPERTY LOCATED ON RT. 10/MAIN ST. BLOCK 5201, LOTS 9, 12, 13 IN PO/R ZONE

 

Attorney Paul Nusbaum represented the applicant.  He stated this matter started in 1999 when we appeared before the Board and got a variance to construct the nursing home and assisted living facility.  We then obtained site plan approval.  The ordinance has changed since then, and assisted living facilities are now permitted uses in the zone.  The nursing home was constructed and is operating.  Under the approval provision, for phase 2 we were to build the assisted living.  In the intervening years, we hired a new architect, Doug Coleman.  He did the architecture for the nursing home and has prepared new architectural renderings for the assisted living facility.  We are here with the revised plan tonight, which necessitated a slight modification to the site plan itself, resulting in a reduction in impervious surface.   At the time of the original approval, there was approval for 100 beds in the assisted living facility.  At the time of the approval it read 84 beds.  We believe that should have been 84 rooms.  This building is scheduled for 86 beds in 71 rooms. 

 

Douglas J. Coleman, architect for the applicant, was sworn in.

 

Thomas T. McGrath, engineer for the applicant, was sworn in.

 

Blanche Bonifacio, a principle with Merry Heart, was sworn in.

 

Mr. Coleman distributed reduced copies of the color rendering to the Board members (rear elevation A-1) (front elevation A-2).

 

Mr. Coleman said the previous Board had concerns about the existing architecture.  My firm was contacted to do a re-design of the building, which is the current nursing home, which was built as phase 1 for the nursing home.  The previous nursing home has been taken down.  The Board had concern about the original approval they had given for the assisted living facility.

 

Mr. Coleman referred to the original rendering fore the assisted living facility (marked A-3 - Route 10 elevation).  He stated the Board had asked us to apply the same type architecture as the nursing home building.  We have done that.  The footprint is almost the same.  We reduced impervious coverage.  The State has a model for an assisted living facility.  If you need more than 2 ½ hours of care per day, you need to go into a nursing home.  There are many people who need less time than that, and the assisted living model came out.  We have tried to design the project as if it were a large hotel.  The architecture is complementary to the nursing home, but is slightly different.  We designed a porte cochere entrance which allows people to pull up in inclement weather and let people out of the car.  We have created architectural interest.  In the rear elevation we have added some covered porch areas.  The entrance to the facility is off Route 10.  The back of the building is the garden area.  The original design had a detention basin with a walking trail around the top.  Some people who use a facility such as this suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and need repetition.  In the therapy for that, walking is used, and a walking path is used.  They need stimuli when they walk.  The original plan with the walkway around the detention basin was not the best solution.  We have now created a walking path inside the building.  We have added a lot of amenities to the interior architecture.  The building has a mansard shingled roof.  We are using many different materials for the façade.  The attempt is to try to bring in a residential character to the building.  Exhibit A-1 shows the covered areas, and Exhibit A-2 shows the porte cochere and the garden area.  

 

Mr. Coleman referred to sheet A-1, sheet 1 of 7 of the plans that were submitted to the Board and described the floor plan.  In the previous plan we showed the adult day care center.  We previously came to the Board to move the day care area to the existing building and received permission to move the day care facility in temporarily.  Over the last several months, it has slowed down until there are not any people in it.  Now, since there isn’t a need for it, we have removed the adult medical day care from the proposal.  We will use the basement space for other amenities.  Exhibit A-1 shows in the lower level there will be a movie theater, a wellness center (with aquatic therapy), beauty parlor, bistro, dining room, lounge and kitchen facility.  There are also administrative offices, break room, HVAC room, computer room and exam room.

 

Mr. Coleman referred to sheet A-2, first floor plan, which shows the porte cochere, the lobby, tea room, sitting area, lounge with fireplace, and a series of resident rooms.

 

Mr. Coleman described sheet A-3, second floor plan, which has single and double rooms, activities room, private dining room.

 

Mr. Coleman referred to sheet A-4, third floor plan, Alzheimer’s wing, which does not allow free access to the elevators.  The elevator lobby is closed off and is controlled by the nursing staff.  There is a country kitchen and dining and activities area, and singe and double rooms.

 

Mr. Coleman said Ms. Bonifacio has found out that there is a demand for expanded room size.  We have increased the size of the rooms.  Some of the residents stay in their rooms and prepare meals.  Activities are very important as well.  This facility is designed to accommodate those.

 

Mr. Coleman referred to sheet A-5 and A-6, which are the computer drawings for the Route 10 elevation, the right side elevation, parking lot elevation, and Main Street elevation. 

 

Mr. Nusbaum said the Historic Advisory Committee has reviewed the exterior plans and finds them acceptable.

 

Ms. DeFillippo said the first floor plan indicates 28 beds.  I only count 27.  I come up with a total of 85 beds. 

 

Mr. Coleman said his assistant will count the beds.

 

Ms. Robortaccio asked if the adult day care will stay in the nursing home.

 

Mr. Nusbaum said the adult day care will be discontinued entirely.

 

Mr. Crowley asked where the service trucks will come in.

 

Mr. Coleman said it would be fore package deliveries.  In the lower right corner of the Route 10 elevation is a loading area.  There is very little waste with this type of facility, and Ms. Bonifacio can control the frequency of deliveries and trash pickup. 

 

Mr. McGrath referred to a color rendering of the site plan (marked A-4).  He described the site and said we will limit the ability for a head-on garbage truck. This is new to this site plan.  the porte cochere is shown at the center of the of the front elevation.   Another change in the site plan is the rear layout.  There are a number of large patio areas which are not covered porches.  There is a grade change to give more window area.  The walkway around the detention pond has been eliminated.  We have indicated that 3 of the major trees were removed because they were damaged.  They will be replaced with shade trees.  Regarding the building at the corner of Main Street and Hillside Avenue, that will remain.  It is being used as a staff residence, and during construction that building will be renovated and closed during construction for the assisted living facility.

 

Ms. DeFillippo asked about the access driveway on Hillside Avenue.

 

Mr. McGrath said that driveway only allows a right turn from Hillside Avenue.

 

Mr. Meyer asked if the dumpster area is screened from Route 10.

 

Mr. McGrath said it is screened from Hillside Avenue.  We are willing to offer more plantings.  From the Route 10 side, the structure is 10 feet tall.  The driveway slopes down a few feet.  With the plantings and berm, it would be difficult to see it from Route 10.  The dumpster enclosure is shown on sheet 16.  The enclosure will be brick, with a decorative wood gate at the front and a pergola roof.

 

Mr. Bodolsky said the original testimony was that there was linkage to the sidewalk system.  The architect described the garden area.  How do people  access the garden area?

 

Mr. Coleman said  the door brings you out to the covered porch area.  Theoretically that is the rear yard for the assisted living area.  That will be an outside space for the residents.

 

Mr. Bodolsky said sheet A-1 shows a sidewalk to the covered porch area.  Where is that on the site plan?

 

Mr. McGrath said that is correct.  It is not shown on the site plan.  We will add it to the plan.

 

Mr. Bodolsky asked if the residents who are not Alzheimer’s patients will have an outdoor area.

 

Mr. Coleman said the covered porch areas will be used, and can be used in all types of weather.  The people who are not Alzheimer’s patients can go off the property and walk around the block if they want to.

 

Mr. Bodolsky asked where the sidewalks are on Main Street to allow residents to walk around the block.

 

Mr. McGrath said there are no sidewalks along Main Street, but residents could walk around the building and on any streets and sidewalks along Route 10 and within the site.

 

Mr. Bodolsky suggested adding sidewalk within the site to create a circuit. 

 

The applicant agreed.

 

Mr. Kurtz said as he recalls, we were discouraging sidewalk along Hillside Avenue as there was no place to connect on the other side of the street.

 

The applicant addressed Mr. Stern’s report updated 2/24/05:

 

1.1               – done

1.2               discussed

 

Mr. Coleman stated in answer to Ms. DeFillippo’s earlier question, the bed count is 86 beds, 71 rooms.

 

1.3               – lower level

1.4               – addressed

1.5               – adult day care will be eliminated.  If there is a need in the future, applicant will return to the Board

1.6               – done

1.7               – addressed

1.8               – done

1.9               – there will be van service – van will be parked in larger lot

1.10            – service tunnel will be eliminated as shared services are not permitted by the State for the nursing home and assisted living facility

1.11            – addressed

1.12            – addressed

1.13            – done

1.14            – no objection from Board

1.15            to 1.18 – addressed

1.19 – addressed

1.20 – complied

1.21            complied

1.22            – agree

1.23            – complied

1.24            – complied

1.25            – complied

1.26            – agreed

1.27            – will comply

 

Mr. Bodolsky asked where parking will be during construction.

 

Mr. McGrath said there are 14 parking spaces on the westerly side that can be used during construction.

 

The applicant addressed Mr. Bodolsky’s report:

 

1.28            – done

1.29            – agreed

1.30            – done

1.31            –done – will comply

1.32            –done

1.33            – done

1.34            –done

1.35            –done

1.36            – agree, pursuant to engineer’s letter of 1/27/05

1.37            – done, will comply

2.1 – design waiver agreed to

2.2 – design waiver agreed to

2.3 – agreed

2.4 – done

2.5 – done

2.6 – done

2.7 – separate containers – to be located in dumpster area

2.8 – addressed – if tractor trailer, it would go to the nursing home

 

Ms. Robortaccio asked if tractor trailers are currently restricted.

 

Ms. Bonifacio said we don’t allow them now, and will restrict it in the future for this building.  We would agree to post a sign restricting them from the Hillside Avenue driveway.

 

2.9 – agree

2.10 – done

3.1 – agree as per 1/29/05 letter

3.2 – agree with architect letter of 1/27/05

3.3 -   agreed

3.4 – will comply

3.5 – will comply

3.6 – done

3.7 – done

4.1 , 4.2, 4.3 – done

4.4 – agreed to work out with Mr. Stern

4.5 – agreed

4.6 – agreed

4.7 – will work out with Mr. Stern

4.8 – agreed

4.9 – agreed

4.10 – agreed

 

The applicant addressed Mr. Bodolsky’s second report:

 

1, 2, 3 – done

4 – addressed

5 – done

 

Mr. Bodolsky said the size of the dumpster facility is about the same size as for a small office building.  I have concern that it is undersized.

 

Mr. Coleman said we can expand it over the drainage area.  The enclosure at the nursing home is actually too large.  We have the ability to use either facility.  We can also control the number of pick-ups.

 

Discussion.  It was determined the dumpster enclosure will remain as shown.

 

Item 6 – ambulances will come in under the porte cochere

Item 7 – done

Item 8 – discussed

Item 9 – done

Item 10 – agreed

Item 11 – agreed – modifications will be reviewed by the Historical Advisory Committee

Item 12 – yes

Item 13 – done

Item 14 – done

Item 15 – will be submitted

Item 16 – yes

Item 17 – yes

Item 18 – will be revised

Item 19 – done

Item 20 – agreed

Items 21, 22, 23 – done

Item 24 – agreed

Item 25 - will be done by Thursday – no requirement for any further approvals from D.O.T.  Applicant will resubmit sequence of construction.

Item 17A – agreed

 

Mr. Crowley asked if automatic door buttons will be put at the entrances and exits.

 

Mr. Coleman said he would assume that will happen.

 

Ms. DeFillippo asked if the residents have cars.

 

Mr. Coleman said most of the time they don’t drive.

 

Ms. DeFillippo asked where the residents with cars will park.

 

Mr. Coleman said they would probably park in the lot on the westerly side of the nursing home.

 

Ms. DeFillippo asked if the rooms will be furnished.

 

Mr. Coleman said there will be furnished models, and residents will have the option to purchase the furniture.

 

PUBLIC PORTION OPENED

 

No one stepped forward.

 

PUBLIC PORTION CLOSED

 

Mr. Meyer made a motion to approve the application and variances and design waivers and stipulations as discussed.  Ms. DeFillippo seconded.

 

Roll as follows:  Mr. Meyer, yes; Ms. DeFillippo, yes; Ms. Darling, yes; Ms. Kinback, yes; Ms. Dargel, yes.  Ms. Dargel said the first building is attractive, and this is an improvement.  Mr. Crowley, yes; Mr. Kurtz, yes; Ms. Robortaccio, yes.

 

The meeting was adjourned by motion at 9:35 p.m.

 

/lm