Could the Liverpool area soon be home to a new senior apartment building?
That’s the hope of Affordable Senior Housing Opportunities. Over the last few months, both the Clay and Salina town boards have heard presentations from the not-for-profit corporation, which is seeking to construct an apartment building at the corner of Davis and Bear roads in Clay and at the corner of Buckley Road and Patricia Drive in Salina.
“We develop affordable housing for seniors capable of living independently,” said Michael Connors of Affordable Senior Housing. “We think there’s a need for our product in this segment of the population [seniors 60 and over making $25,000 to $35,000 a year]. Folks who make less can get an apartment through HUD, but these seniors are told they make too much. There are a lot of assisted and enhanced living facilities, but the rents on those can run $2,000 or $3,000 a month, and that’s out of their range. There’s a gap in the marketplace, and we’re looking to fill that gap.”
Connors said the proposals for both locations are very similar. Each includes just one building, though, if the project in Salina is approved and fills up quickly, the organization will construct a second building off Buckley Road.
Both buildings are single apartment buildings for seniors who don’t need assistance with medications or meal preparation. They target seniors who make 60 to 80 percent of the median income for the area, or $25,000 to $35,000. The buildings include a mixture of one- and two-bedroom apartments, with one-bedrooms being 650 to 690 square feet and two-bedrooms being 850 square feet. Each building is fully handicapped-adaptable and features amenities like a community area for residents, a library, a family room, an on-site beauty parlor, an exercise facility, laundry facilities and an elevator. The Clay site would have 127 apartments while the one in Salina would have 131.
“These are good-sized buildings,” Connors said. “With the size of the senior population in this area, we believe there’s a need for what we’re offering.”
Unfortunately, the residents of the towns might not feel the same way. At a public hearing in Salina last month, a number of residents spoke against the project, citing concerns about traffic and the town’s inadequate sewage and drainage systems.
Supervisor Mark Nicotra said the board hasn’t yet made up its mind, though.
“I’m not leaning either way at this point,” Nicotra said. “The board is keeping an open mind. The public hearing is still open and people can still respond.”
Nicotra did express a concern about the potential traffic impact.
“The county has told them they can’t have an exit on Buckley Road, so that means they only have one entrance and exit,” he said. “That means all traffic will be coming and going on Patricia and Oakridge. I’m not sure that area can handle that.”
Connors said Affordable Senior Housing has completed a traffic study on both locations.
Clay Supervisor James Rowley said that, while the traffic study showed no significant impact, he wasn’t sure the project would fly in Clay, either.
“Despite the fact that the traffic study, which was verified by our engineer, showed that there would be no significant increase in traffic, some of the board members still feel the traffic there now is substantial enough [to vote down the project],” Rowley said. “A lot of the neighbors in that area are concerned about that, as well.”
Rowley also worried about the fact that the building would only have one exit and entrance.
“It doesn’t sit well with me or with the board,” Rowley said. “My feeling is, because of that, it won’t pass.”
The board will vote on the proposed zone change at its March 17 meeting.
Still, Rowley said, there is definitely a need for such a project in the Clay area.
“I’d love to see this project be built elsewhere,” he said. “We’ve suggested other properties to the developer and told the county we’d support a PILOT [payment in lieu of taxes agreement] for them. It’s just not going to work at that corner.”
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.