WP council OKs rezone, site plan for senior living facility

Willow Park resident Mary Robb spoke before city council members Tuesday regarding an independent senior living facility in the area. Council unanimously approved a rezone request and side plan for the facility.

The Willow Park city council unanimously approved a rezone request as well as a site plan for an independent senior living facility at Tuesday night’s regular meeting.

The facility was originally going to be at 8892 Bankhead Highway, but after the discovery of survey errors, the facility fell through and council de-annexed the 11.69 acres of land.

But on Tuesday, the facility was brought back to the council, which will be on 9.27 acres on the northwest corner of Mary Lou Drive and J.D. Towles Drive.

“It is for independent senior living and the age requirement will be a minimum of one primary resident of each living unit to be 55 years of age or older. They can have a private community center, a private recreational facility — which can include swimming pool and clubhouse facilities — commercial kitchen for the residents’ use and on-site amenities for residents, such as a nail salon or theater,” WP Planning Consultant Betty Chew said. “They’re requesting 18 units per acre. For standard multi-family under the Willow Park ordinance it’s eight units per acre, so they are asking for 18. The building height, they’re requesting four stories with a maximum height of 45 feet. Presently for multi-family zoning, it is three stories and 40 feet overall height, so there will be an additional height that is requested.”

The community will be gated and a one-bedroom unit will be about 500 square feet while a two-bedroom unit will be about 1,000 square feet.

The previous complex received push back from some residents, but at Tuesday’s required public hearing, four residents commented in favor of the independent senior living facility.

“Retirement living has never occurred to me, until recently. I own my home, have one acre of land, and it’s getting tiresome trying to take care of that thing. A community like Mr. [Jim] Martin is proposing here is ideal. When I moved out here, the nearest one was somewhere out in Weatherford, it’s too far. I like Willow Park, I served Willow Park and I’ll continue to serve Willow Park until I’m forced to retire,” WP resident and former Mayor Marvin Glasgow said. “I think the council would be doing the citizens of Willow Park and East Parker County a huge favor by approving the construction of this facility. I have a neighbor that really needs to go there, but she’s determined to stay at her house. Once we have this facility built, I think we can convince her that’s the place for her to be. She’ll have friends around her all the time, she’ll have things she can do, she can come and go and she pleases, but she won’t have to worry about her yard or maintaining her house.”

WP resident and reverse mortgage loan officer Mary Robb said she works with seniors and Willow Park is missing the gap of a senior adult active community.

“They don’t want to stay in their homes, they can’t afford to stay in their homes. Their homes are paid for, but they can no longer afford to take care of it on their fixed incomes, they don’t have the energy, the capacity, the ability to take care of the existing homes they have. They want an option to live in a senior adult active community,” Robb said. “We have apartments, we have single-family living, we have assisted living, but we’re missing the gap of a senior adult active community.”

Lisa Flowers and KJ Hannah also gave comments in favor of the facility.

Chew said the developer is proposing 85 percent of the exterior total wall surface to be finished in two or more of the following materials: Glass, stone, manmade stone, brick, split-face concrete blocks and stucco.

Chew said the primary items that needed to be approved are the density and the height of the building.

“This 18 units per acre, that’s what the current apartments are that we already have, that’s what they’re at is 18 per acre, so it’s not like we’re doing a higher density than what those apartments are,” Place 2 Council member Amy Fennell said. 

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