Westwood Planning Commission hears opposition to proposed senior living development

The Westwood Entercom property is the site for a possible senior living complex.
The Westwood Entercom property is the site for a proposed senior living complex.

A proposed plan to add a senior living development at the nearly eight-acre Entercom property in Westwood did not take any strides forward at a packed planning commission meeting this week.

A number of Westwood residents expressed opinions at the meeting, most in opposition to the property being used for a senior living complex that would create more density than the surrounding single-family neighborhoods. The planning commission did not establish a public hearing date for a proposed zoning text change to add a multi-family zoning category that included senior living. A public hearing would be the next step toward revising the zoning code.

Because Westwood has no provision for senior living in its codes, a development proposal cannot be submitted without a change to the zoning text that accommodates such projects.

“We don’t need to get in a rush,” Chris Ross, chair of the planning commission said, “there is lots of opportunity on the property (Entercom).” The city skews younger in its demographics, Ross said, and the new Woodside Village development may reinforce that younger tilt. That could suggest that senior living is not a priority, he indicated. A “lot of smart, reasonable comments” were heard at the meeting, Ross said.

Ross suggested a next step could be another joint meeting of the planning commission and the city council. At a joint session in January, the two groups had agreed to consider a multi-family provision in the zoning code. Currently, multi-family is only allowed as part of a mixed-use development such as Woodside.

A previously prepared zoning text change focused only on adult care and would have allowed the senior living development to be submitted. The new text proposal, that did not move forward, allows planned multi-family, including adult care and senior living, to be considered. The language requires that a full development plan be submitted with a zoning request.

The city also is discussing doing a comprehensive plan review which would broaden the discussion about future development and planning across the city.