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Design rendering of Home, Inc.’s newly planned senior-focused development, tentatively to be called “The Cascades,” from the southwest. The development, to be completed in four phases, is planned to include 32 senior rental units in duplexes and triplexes, and 10 for-sale townhouses for a range of ages. (Rendering by City Architecture, Inc.)

Planning Commission | 32-unit senior housing advances

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Following unanimous approval from Yellow Springs Planning Commission members at the group’s most recent meeting, Tuesday, April 9, a 32-unit, senior-focused development is one step closer to realization.

At the meeting, Planning Commission reviewed a final planned unit development, or PUD, plan set forth by local affordable housing nonprofit YS Home, Inc., to construct its multi-family development — called “The Cascades” — on 1.8 acres between Marshall and Herman streets.

According to YS Home, Inc. Executive Director Emily Seibel, the nonprofit aims to break ground on the development later this summer; construction is currently out to bid. Seibel told the News that the budget for the project is $9–10 million.

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Tuesday’s affirmative vote echoes the approval Planning Commission members gave the project’s preliminary plan application in March of last year. The vote was 4-0, with Commission Chair Susan Stiles recusing herself from the discussion and vote as a member emeritus of the Home, Inc. board of directors.

The plan for the new 32-unit housing development includes 22 affordable duplex and triplex rentals reserved for seniors — that is, those 60 years and older or those with a qualifying disability, per the Federal Home Loan Bank’s definition of “senior.” Some will be second-floor units, but most will be single story.

The remaining 10 two-story townhomes will be sold at low cost to qualifying buyers of varying ages and demographics.

“Those 10, for-sale townhomes along the residential corridor will not be age-restricted,” Seibel told Planning Commission members on Tuesday. “Based on public input, they are going to be designed to be multi-generational, meeting a variety of household needs.”

Presently, the 1.8 acres on which the development will be sited, located adjacent to the Miami Township Fire-Rescue firehouse on Xenia Avenue, are comprised of 10 parcels which are in the process of being consolidated into two parcels through a re-plat application that has been reviewed and approved by Planning and Zoning Administrator Meg Leatherman.

All 10 parcels are owned by the Morgan Family Foundation which, in 2018, entered into an agreement with YS Home, Inc. to donate the property “for the purposes of developing it with affordable housing” with the aid of a below-market-rate loan. The land was formerly part of the site that housed Wright State Physicians medical clinic.

Once finished, The Cascades will be across the street from Friends Care Community, one block from the Wellness Center at Antioch College and four blocks from the future site of the Yellow Springs Senior Center at the intersection of Livermore and East North College streets.

Pending county approval and the issuing of building permits — both of which Leatherman said are imminent — Tuesday’s Planning Commission approval gave Home Inc. the green light for all four phases of the development of The Cascades. As previously reported in the News, these four phases were established based on funding availability and award ceilings.

The first three phases involve building eight, six and eight age-restricted triplexes and duplexes. The first phase, costing $2.29 million, is fully funded. Phase 4 is the construction of the remaining 10 for-sale townhomes that are available to seniors and nonseniors alike.

While Planning Commission approved Home, Inc.’s final development plan for all four phases of the project, a landscape plan was only provided for the first phase. As Leatherman noted in a memo to commission members, Home Inc. will have to submit additional landscape plans prior to issuance of the first building permit for each phase. Each of those landscape plans must include a buffer area along the eastern property line to provide screening to adjacent, existing homes, as well as screening for the dumpster location and parking lot.

Whereas there was general favor among Planning Commission members for The Cascades, one local citizen, Steve Conn, wrote to the group before the meeting to express his staunch opposition to the project, suggesting that Home, Inc. ought to turn its focus away from the local senior population.

“We all know that the genuine pressing need is for affordable family housing attractive to younger people,” Conn wrote. “But at the moment, there is no money available for that. Hence the manufactured ‘crisis’ of senior housing. A classic example of tails wagging dogs.”

Responding to Conn’s concerns, Seibel told Planning Commission that she’s seen “pent-up demand” for The Cascades, and said she wasn’t “at all concerned” about filling the senior rental units.

Seibel also noted that The Cascades may, in part, address the housing needs of more than just local senior citizens; she suggested that seniors looking to “downsize” by moving into a rental unit may free up additional homes in the local market.

“This will not only result in [generating] property tax revenue, thus improved infrastructure, but it will create more housing choices in Yellow Springs — movement that will free up existing housing,” Seibel said. “It’s a piece of a bigger puzzle in meeting the needs of our community around housing.”

As previously reported in the News, a 2017 Housing Needs Assessment conducted in the village by Columbus-based Bowen National Research identified affordable senior rentals as among the top housing needs in Yellow Springs. The study also found that, at the time, nearly 60% of senior renters in Yellow Springs had an annual income of less than $24,999.

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One Response to “Planning Commission | 32-unit senior housing advances”

  1. Cheryl Brinkmann says:

    Awesome. We need affordable, up to date, safe senior housing! Especially for those with disabilities. Thank you!!!

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