Project passes zoning hurdle

Patrick Fisher, Staff Writer

The New Prague Planning and Zoning Commission recommended rezoning nearly four acres of land from commercial to residential.

The action was taken at the commission's Wednesday, Oct. 22, meeting and was based on a request from Keystone Communities, LLC, which is proposing an 80-unit senior living apartment complex on the property.

New Prague Planning Director Ken Ondich explained an amendment to the city's comprehensive plan was needed because the proposed project is located at the southeast intersection of First Street SE and 10th Avenue SE, south of the new State Bank of New Prague. The land is zoned as B-2 commercial. Under that classification, nursing homes and assisted living facilities are not listed as a permitted or conditional use. The amendment would allow the area to be changed to RH high density residential, which allows for such facilities.

It was noted that the age groups 65 to 69 and 70 to 74 are the fastest growing groups through the year 2030.

Ondich said in the past abutting commercial and residential areas has led to some conflicts for the city, but a senior apartment complex would be a good transition as it has a little bit of both areas. He added that city staff recommended the amendment.

Keystone's Chief Executive Officer, Kristi Olson, and Chief Financial Officer, Mike Lewis, made a presentation for the facility at the commission's September 24 meeting. The proposed complex would have units for independent living, assisted living and tenants with Alzheimer's or similar conditions. The estimated cost for the complex is $10 million. It would employ 35 people. Olson and Lewis were also present at the October 22 meeting.

I think staff makes a convincing case for this

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