Clay discusses senior zoning

New zoning code among topics at town board meeting

The town of Clay may soon add a new zone to its books that will benefit seniors.

The town board held a public hearing at its Jan. 4 meeting to discuss adding the R-SR Senior Residence District zone to its zoning laws. The zone, as proposed, would accommodate persons who are age 62 or older with particular living needs.

"What we're doing is adding a new section to our zoning that's going to be an option for developers that want to develop a parcel of land for seniors age 62 and over," said town board member Bruce Johnson, who served on the committee to write the new zoning code. "This is different from normal zones because it would allow a mix of either single-family or apartments and businesses and services that cater to seniors."

The proposal would not change existing zones; it just adds another option for developers, Johnson said.

Any commercial development within the district would be limited to 2,000 square feet and must serve the senior population. Possibilities include medical offices, senior housing, senior citizen facilities, community centers, nursing home or assisted living facilities or senior day care facilities.

"This is modeled on some of the developments that they have in the South where self-contained communities provide seniors living in the area with all of the services they would need or want within a campus-type area," Johnson said.

There was some discussion during the public hearing about the age limit. Councilors Robert Edick and Joseph Bick and some residents in the audience asked why the limit was so high, suggesting that it be lowered to 55.

"There's been a lot of discussion about a cutoff date and allowing people younger than 62," said Councilor Naomi Bray, who also served on the committee. "We all felt very strongly that the cutoff had to be 62 to preserve the integrity of the senior housing."

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