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ORANGE : Plans for Senior Housing Complex Sent Back to Panel

The developer of a large housing project for senior citizens was told this week to take his plans back to the Planning Commission after City Council members said they did not have enough information to consider his appeal.

“I’m not sure this project is ready to give birth yet,” Councilman Mike Spurgeon said. “I think it needs to go back for fine-tuning.”

In September, the Planning Commission denied Jerome Greubel a permit for a 92-unit complex in the Santiago Hills neighborhood on the grounds that the height and size of the project exceeded zoning code limits.

Neighbors turned out in force to speak against the proposal at an appeal hearing Tuesday night. City Council members agreed that the proposal lacked detail about grading and drainage.

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Greubel, a Tustin developer, proposed constructing a three-building complex on a site of less than three acres on Newport Boulevard near Chapman Avenue.

The Planning Commission and neighbors agreed that a seniors home would be a worthwhile cause. But the steep slope of the land, the proximity to single-family neighborhoods and a fault line running across the property dictated a smaller project, according to a report from Jack McGee, the city’s director of community development.

Greubel told the council that he had already cut a planned fourth story off the buildings and reduced the project from 120 units to 92. But codes for the site limit buildings to two stories and 83 units.

But residents of Santiago Hills were more concerned with the details. “This project is like a bad dream that keeps recurring,” said neighbor Bob Hahn. “It keeps coming back.”

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A couple of residents said they supported the project, however. Rich Katnik noted that it might be the best alternative for the area. “Nothing is going to be perfect, but it beats McDonald’s,” he said.


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