After a two-year hiatus from the public arena, plans for a 72-bed Oakmont Senior Living facility on the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Woodleigh Lane will appear before the city’s Planning Commission in a meeting Tuesday night.
Commissioners will consider a variance, tree removal permit and conditional use permit for a 78,117-square foot, three-story facility with subterranean parking garage and a 2,231-square-foot church that would replace the First Church of Christ, Scientist, currently operating at 600 Foothill Boulevard.
Representatives from the Santa Rosa-based developer, which operates luxury senior facilities throughout California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada, first presented their plans to the public in a February 2015 meeting of the city Design Commission as an answer to a lack of senior housing in La Cañada Flintridge.
A contingent of neighbors, led by Woodleigh Lane homeowner Michael Gross, shared their concerns then with the bulk and scale of the three-story building and the safety issues presented by locating a senior facility in a high-traffic area.
Design commissioners agreed the boxiness of the facility was not an aesthetic fit to the city’s Downtown Village Specific Plan, which sets guidelines for building projects along much of Foothill Boulevard, and suggested Oakmont consider redesigning the building.
In an interview last week, Gross said he would attend Tuesday’s meeting to see if Oakmont has made any changes to the project and speak against an institutional facility whose sheer mass alone would change the tenor of the community.
“I’m not trying to keep any development out,” Gross said of his efforts to rally residents. “I would actually welcome a senior village on this property — [but] this feels more institutional than residential.”
According to plans submitted by Oakmont officials in 2015, the facility would be for residents 62 years and older and include 48 beds for assisted living clients and a 24-bed Alzheimer’s/dementia ward. Amenities such as gourmet dining, exercise and activity rooms and a beauty salon and day spa would be offered on site.
Susan Koleda, the city’s deputy director of community development, said the city conducted a mitigated negative declaration study that indicated construction would have no serious negative environmental impact.
“The Planning Commission will be looking at the use itself as well as the development and how it complies with the development standards,” Koleda said. “Once approved, [the applicants] anticipate construction would take one year.”