Liberty Twp. trustees approve memory care facility over neighbor objections

Credit: Submitted

Credit: Submitted

The Liberty Twp. trustees heard more objections to the proposed Beehive memory care facility at the entrance to the posh Carriage Hill subdivision Tuesday but voted unanimously in favor of it, saying their hands are tied in how to vote.

After another marathon Zoom session, the trustees approved the major modification to the commercial portion of the Carriage Hill preliminary planned unit development plan. It clears the way for fine-tuning of developer Randy Terry’s plan to build two identical 16,238-square-foot buildings for Beehive Carriage Hill, a memory care facility at the Ohio 747 entrance to the subdivision.

The trustees continued the Dec. 1 public hearing because they had concerns about the design and building materials in the initial offering. Terry made some plan revisions, and while the building sizes are identical to the first 48-bed plan, the structure was repositioned. He also added more brick and stone exterior treatments to fit Carriage Hill’s character.

Trustee Tom Farrell said he has a memory care facility in his backyard and they have been great neighbors for four years. He also reminded the 88 people on the Zoom meeting the subject commercial area was originally slated to have 250 apartments and a nursing home.

“Many of you think that we can say yes or no to any development, I know because I sat in your chair not too long ago, but we cannot. We have to follow the rules set forth by Ohio Revised Code and our zoning codes,” Farrell said. “This is not about what I think is right in the area or what fills the expectations of what you were promised. Because if it was, this would be a really easy decision for me.”

Even with the modifications, the neighbors are still unhappy. Lindsay Bayer, who has been the spokeswoman for about 330 residents who oppose the project, told the Journal-News previously they are genuinely concerned for the safety of the future residents, because there are nearby ponds and busy Ohio 747 is just outside the door in case they wander off.

Terry addressed that concern.

“We can reassure that the facility does operate on a lockdown type of mode,” Terry said. “Such that residents cannot leave the facility without either staff or family escort.”

The neighbors say they were promised a village type atmosphere with shops and other amenities. Bayer asked the trustees to consider that, and also said the development is inappropriate because the rear setback is non-compliant and the township’s zoning requires five acres for institutional care facilities and this one is only three.

Bryan Behrmann, director of planning and zoning said five acres are required in most cases.

“Part of the benefit of a (development plan) is you can take uses and put them together and arrange them certain ways that maybe meets the intent of the code but may not meet it to a T, because of the lot size or whatnot,” he said adding while the lot is three acres, there is “significant” open space surrounding it. “I think if you factor in some of those shared open space areas I think it probably meets the intent of the code.”

Behrmann said some of the neighbors other concerns like landscaping will be addressed during the next phase of development planning.

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