Westwood Planning Commission members don’t favor senior living for Entercom property; multi-family housing OK, though

The Westwood Entercom property is the site for a possible senior living complex.
The Westwood Entercom property was often the point of discussion in the planning commission work session.

The Westwood Planning Commission lined up against putting a senior housing project on the Entercom property early in its work session Thursday.

Commission Chair Chris Ross early in the meeting asked the other five members attending to indicate if senior housing is acceptable for the nearly eight-acre Entercom property and if it would be an acceptable use for property anywhere in the city. All of the members agreed there could be a place for senior housing in Westwood, but a majority indicated that they would not favor a senior living development on the Entercom property.

In the ensuing discussion, commission members made a distinction between senior living that might include assisted living, skilled nursing and continuing care as opposed to age-restricted communities for active seniors. Skilled nursing developments are more appropriate to commercial districts along thoroughfares, some members said.

Multi-family housing could be appropriate in the city and on the Entercom property, commission members said.

“The reality is that Entercom is going to sell the property and it is going to be redeveloped,” Ross said early in the meeting. “It is going to change from what it is today.” Ross later suggested multi-family housing on the Entercom property could create the density that could pay for the property acquisition and clearing. Greater density could result in more open space and make it a better fit for walkability and connections to the surrounding community.

Commission members began working through the parking, height and other conditions for a multi-family district, category that does not exist in the Westwood zoning code. More than two dozen residents attended the meeting.