Orange diocese’s plans to build senior housing complex approved over neighbors’ objections
The Orange County Board of Supervisors has given the green light to the Diocese of Orange to move forward with plans to build a senior housing complex in North Tustin.
Supervisors voted 4-1 on March 15 to approve the complex, the Springs at Bethsaida Senior Living Community, despite opposition from some area residents who complained about increased traffic and the incompatibility of the facility with the existing character of the neighborhood.
The two-story complex will include 153 dwelling units – 79 independent living units, 55 assisted living units and 19 single-story bungalows, according to county documents. “The main courtyard includes recreational facilities, including but not limited to a pool, spa, water features, and seating areas,” said the county report.
"I know that there will be people who will be upset as a result of this decision,” said board chairman Bill Campbell, according to a report by the Orange County Register. “I hope that five to 10 years from now they'll say this was a good thing."
“We are very grateful to the board for their careful analysis and ultimate approval of this project which will be an important component of our diocese’ mission to better serve our senior citizens,” said Orange Bishop Tod Brown in a statement published on the diocesan website. “We are committed to meeting and exceeding our commitment to build a quality community and to be a good neighbor to the citizens of North Tustin.”
The 7.25-acre lot on which the Springs at Bethsaida will be situated was donated to the diocese in 1958 “with the stipulation that it was to be used for the mission of the church,” said a statement posted on the diocesan website. “Under the current zoning, Residential Single Family (100-RSF), other uses including churches, schools and congregate care facilities are also allowed in the 100-RSF district, subject to the approval of a use permit. The Diocese sought a zone change because the Springs at Bethsaida varies from a congregate care facility in that it reflects the trend in senior living which includes both independent living and assisted living in a residential community.”
The Diocese of Orange has contracted with Kisco Senior Living, “one of the nation’s premier developer and operators of senior living communities,” to “design, build and operate the project,” said the diocesan statement. But the diocese “will maintain ownership and oversight of the Springs at Bethsaida through a non-profit entity… A board of directors appointed by the Bishop will oversee the project and set policy, with ownership retained by the Diocese.”
According to the diocesan statement, measures were taken in an attempt to address complaints from nearby residents of the facility. The facility “will include many design features on all sides of the building, enabling it to blend with surrounding homes,” said the statement. In addition, an underground parking area will “eliminate overflow parking on adjacent streets.”
The diocese also agreed to “a comprehensive enhanced setback, berms and landscaping plan to create a clear visual separation of the building from Newport avenue, and to screen and buffer adjacent homes from the property,” the diocesan statement said.
Approval of the project by Orange County supervisors included other conditions not mentioned in the diocesan statement, according to the Register. They include “a free shuttle to bring residents to medical appointments, grocery stores, pharmacies, department stores and restaurants within 20 miles of the home,” the Register reported. “Delivery trucks are required to use only Newport Avenue and 17th Street, the developer must build sound walls, and no alarms may be placed outside the building.”
Other conditions imposed by the county, according to the Register, include: “the building height will be 30 feet, not the proposed 35 feet, with 8-foot-high evergreen landscaping. The Springs at Bethsaida will not be allowed to fly flags or pennants. And the developer must hire an archaeologist and paleontologist to catalogue fossils and artifacts in areas where they dig deeper than 6 feet.”
“The developer will also pay a $688,000 fee to be spent developing parks in North Tustin, Campbell said,” said the Register’s report.
Construction of the senior living facility will take about two years, the diocese said. No estimate was provided of the cost of construction or to live at the Springs of Bethsaida once its is built.
It's sad when people object to their elderly to have proper housing and a home of their own. I know how hard it is because I prayed for 30 years to have our own home and it was a miracle that God and Our Blessed Mother Mary provided for us! May there be peace among neighbors+