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Proposed Proctor Assisted Living Center Sent Back For More Work

Center Gate neighborhood and Albritton Family to work out issues of proposed assisted living center before County Commission considers it in November.

A proposed assisted living center at Honore Avenue and Proctor Road will have more kinks to work out before the Sarasota County Commissioners will approve the project. 

The County Commission voted 5-0 Tuesday to continue a public hearing for the 108-bed Heritage Grove assisted living center being built on 8.97 acres. The hearing will come back during the afternoon agenda of the Nov. 14 meeting.

The commissioners were close to approving the project as Commissioner Carolyn Mason motioned to approve the project, but after a lengthy discussion led by Commissioner Joe Barbetta, the commission opted to reconsider to have the developer and Center Gate neighborhood work out some final details. 

"Somethings going to happen on this property one way or another, folks," Barbetta said. "So try to work together to get the best plan."

Those issues include:

  • Buffering the second-story portion of the complex
  • Addressing the location of the complex's through driveway
  • Possibly locating stormwater retention pond to the north
  • Move entrance to memory care to the south

The center would be operated by Albritton Family, which acquired an additional 4.1 acres on that corner and would combine two parcels to create a 8.97-acre property, and replace the existing Heron House East, which was built in 1999 with 112 beds. 

The Heron House is 50,000 square feet in building size where the new project would be about 99,000 square feet.

Lourdes Ramirez, president of the Coalition of Neighborhood Associations, urged the commission to not approve the plan as presented. 

"This is a perfect opportunity for you to provide good planning. Over the years I heard you talk about redevelopment and walkabout communities," she said. "The proposed [assisted living facility] at Honore and Proctor does not fit that bill."

Resident and planner Chris McGarry said the design is better suited for a rura parcel than an infill project and thought the project is "poorly integrated with the community."

Commissioner Chairwoman Christine Robinson, like other commissioners, struggled with the project.

"This is a use that we can have here, and they reduced it down to one floor in the relevant area," she said, but later adding that the driveway located on the outer part of the property could buffer noise from the internal area of the complex.

Commissioner Nora Patterson said the developer made some improvements, "but to be honest with you, if I lived ion one of the abutting homes, I would not be pleased, nor would I regard it as compatible."

Patterson said similar areas with assisted living centers beside neighborhoods have larger buffer areas or further setbacks.

The commission reached a consensus along with the developer to continue the hearing in November for residents to meet one more time to make agreeable adjustments.

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