Henderson: Senior housing loses once again

If at first you don’t succeed — you try your luck before the city again. For a low-income senior housing complex, though, the answer was still no.

The Henderson Planning Commission Thursday turned down the latest version of the project. It was the project’s second denial by planners and the third denial by the city overall. The City Council also turned down the project in November.

This time around, the developer, Terra West, had proposed a scaled-down version of the project planned for Horizon Ridge Parkway.

Plans presented again Thursday called for strictly residential, with 156 senior apartment units on 10 acres on the north side of Horizon Ridge Parkway west of Carnegie Street. The original project was almost twice the size, 19.11 acres, and included commercial development.

"We have eliminated all the commercial portions of the project, and we no longer own the other 10 acres," Mike Mullin, president of Nevada Hand, assured planners. Nevada Hand is an organization for affordable housing that is in partnership on the project with Terra West. "This is strictly affordable senior housing, which is desperately needed in the valley."

Still, residents and planners seemed no more convinced this time around than they were when the project was before the commission in October.

"I didn’t think that we would be revisiting this project again so soon, since it was just last month when it went before City Council," resident Karen Sexton told the commission. "I believe that senior housing is a priority, but this is not the right area. We already have over 700 apartment units planned for the area, and one of those is applying for more units."

About a dozen residents turned out to oppose the project, mostly sharing Sexton’s sentiments.

"I moved here with my wife a year ago, and now it seems that everyone wants to rezone the area where I live, Horizon Ridge Parkway, from residential to commercial and multi-family," Galen Kym said. "We don’t need any more multifamily because Horizon Ridge Parkway can’t handle it."

Last September the City Council decided not to study widening Horizon Ridge Parkway.

"This isn’t the right area for this," Ann Adam said. "If this is planned for low-income seniors, then it isn’t near a public library or any other resources for them."

Mullin disagreed. "This is a good location because it is near shopping and it is a good area," he said, referring to the high-income of area residents.

Planners said the senior complex didn’t comply with the city Southwest Study Plan for development in the area. The complex was too far away from a major intersection, was incompatible with the surrounding neighborhood and failed to meet landscaping requirements, they maintained.

"I concur with staff (in recommending denial) of this project," Commissioner Dan Shaw said. "I feel that this is inappropriate for this location at this time."

After the meeting, Mullin said that he remained hopeful that this smaller version of the project would be approved by City Council when it meets on Jan. 4.

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