Michaels Farms LLC is once again looking to construct a senior complex on Morgan Road near Waterhouse Road in the town of Clay.
The developer is looking for a zone change from RA-100 Residential Agricultural to R-SR Senior Residence District at 8073 and 8097 Morgan Road, on the west side of the street opposite Waterhouse. Michaels Farms has previously applied for the zone change on these parcels twice; both times, they withdrew their application amid widespread criticism of their plans.
The last time the developer applied for the zone change last fall, residents panned their plans for a gas station and some commercial development, as well as three apartment buildings. The previous proposal also planned for the extension of roads within Fairway East and Cross Creek to connect with Waterhouse Road and the construction of signal lights at that intersection.
At the Clay Town Board meeting Monday, April 1, surveyor Hal Romans presented an amended plan on behalf of the applicant.
“This is strictly senior housing,” Romans said. “We’ve revamped it so that there is no commercial development here.”
Instead, Michaels Farms wants to build approximately 20 patio homes (all rentals), two two-story buildings and a few three-story buildings on the 69.3-acre parcel, making a total of approximately 450 senior housing units. The new plan includes a community building for all residents and other area seniors as well as significant green space. It would have entrances on Morgan and Waterhouse.
“The patio homes would be a buffer between the single-family houses [on Cross Creek] and the apartment buildings,” Romans said.
The new plan also did away with the previous attempt to connect the local streets.
The Onondaga County Planning Board recommended rejecting the proposal, citing a lack of access to public transportation and the possibility of a dangerous entranceway on Waterhouse. Romans said the developer can address those concerns by moving the entrance and working with Centro to provide access to bus stops.
“I do think you need to change the entrance on Waterhouse,” said town board member Robert Edick. “But otherwise, I think the project looks great.”
Several residents rose concerns about increased traffic, drainage and lighting, but most were pleased that the developer had made changes to the initial proposal made last September.
“They did take into account a lot of our concerns,” said Carrie Prue of Cross Creek Drive. “They took our comments to heart.”
Romans said, if the project is approved, full buildout would likely take about 10 years.
The public hearing was adjourned to 7:38 p.m. Monday, May 6.
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.