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Senior housing proposals pending in Clay, Salina

"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."

Towns respond

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."

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