MONROE – Representatives from town councils in Indian Trail, Weddington and Wesley Chapel have spoken out against a proposed senior living center that would bring 182 units to Beulah Church Road.
Twin Lakes Farm LLC wants to develop nearly 8.4 acres in hopes of building the three-story, 70,000-square-foot center, but it has to get approval from the Union County Board of Commissioners. The board held a public hearing Feb. 4.
“We feel this provides seniors with an option to pay one monthly price that would allow them to cover most of their expenses while enjoying a number of amenities,” said Mark Kime, a landscape architect with LandDesign in Charlotte.
The Twin Lakes Independent Senior Living Center would allow the residents to engage in group exercises, shopping excursions, entertainment outings and restaurant-style dining. There will be an activity lawn, nature trail and sidewalks.
Eight people spoke during the Feb. 4 public hearing, including two in support of it.
“Communities like this bridge that gap between a person who is living alone in their home and moving into a facility that’s providing the care they need to extend their life,” said Gene Vaughn, adding there’s nothing like this in Union County.
Mike Smith, of the Weddington Town Council, and Mike Head, of the Indian Trail Town Council, each opposed the project, calling for the county to collaborate with their communities on zoning issues of shared interest.
“We know as elected officials, we can’t stop development, nor do we want to stop development,” Smith said. “However, as elected officials, we need to manage growth the best we can, and one of the few ways we can do that is by our zoning. And making sure that the proper development goes in the right place. ”
Mike Como, of the Wesley Chapel Village Council, challenged the notion that 65-year-olds don’t drive. The developer has requested decreasing the number of parking spaces from 182 to 83.
Neighbor Julie Thomas was against this zoning. She reiterated that the project was merely apartments, not assisted living.
“None of the staff is trained medically to anybody if they’re having a heart attack or a stroke,” she said.
If they need medical assistance, they will have to drive at least six miles to the nearest health facility, she said.
Thomas mentioned this project wouldn’t be in discussions if the term “senior” were not attached and this particular facility does not necessarily protect the residents from outdoor venturing due to extreme traffic.
“If these residents want to walk anywhere, they have one choice – one choice and that Nena’s Market, to go to a gas station, get popcorn and a soda,” Thomas said.
Commissioner Stony Rushing could understand why the project would not need as much parking when there are so many amenities and services onsite. He said it also offers a lot of jobs.
Rushing said he hopes those against the project will visit the site before passing judgment.