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Salina: Senior housing causes a stir

The town of Salina board meeting on Feb. 25 was dominated by a public hearing on the application for a zone change by Affordable Senior Housing from R-1 to R-4 on property located off of Buckley Road and Patricia Drive.

The property is currently zoned for single residential homes. The zone change has been requested so that multiple dwelling buildings can be built on the site. The hearing began with a presentation by the staff of Affordable Senior Housing Inc. The company has built four senior citizen apartment buildings near Buffalo and want to build one on this site. The project would begin as one building of 131 one- and two-bedroom apartments. The apartments would be available to adults 60 years of age or older.

Jim Stokes, attorney for Affordable Housing spoke first.

"A condition of the zone change will be a restrictive covenant which will have to be approved by the board which will permanently limit the use of the land to senior housing," Stokes said, "This is a community plan it is in the public interest and this is an ideal site for this project. This project will be a less intensive use that if the site is developed for single family homes."

Michael Connors of Affordable Senior Housing spoke next.

"The company is a Buffalo based not for profit organization to provide senior citizens with affordable housing," Connors said. "Its target is seniors who make between $25,000 to 35,000 a year, a group that is largely unserved in the housing market.

Other housing for seniors is either subsidized by the government or is too expensive for this group to afford.

Connors showed pictures of a similar project in West Seneca near Buffalo. It is one building which, he said, leads to more of a community feeling. Residents do not have to go out side to access the facilities. They can exercise, do laundry, visit friends and enjoy community spaces without leaving the building.

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