County planners OK senior living facility at El Rancho

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By Deb Hurley Brobst

The El Rancho area may get a state-licensed senior group living facility.

The Jefferson County Planning Commission unanimously recommended that the county commissioners allow the property owner, George DeMarsico, a special-use permit for a 96-bed facility at 1055 El Rancho Road. The commissioners are expected to conduct a public hearing and vote on the issue at their March 25 meeting.

The 4.5-acre property is south of Evergreen Country Day School’s preschool building. Speakers during the Planning Commission hearing said the facility would be an appropriate buffer between the homes to the south and the commercial development such as Home Depot and Walmart to the north.

No one spoke in opposition to the proposal.

Neighbors wanted to make sure the buildings looked compatible with the surrounding neighborhood and hoped that open space on the property would be closer to 50 percent rather than the 30 percent required in the county zoning ordinance.

The facility is expected to be 65,000 square feet, which would include residents’ rooms, a kitchen, laundry and other amenities needed to accommodate seniors who need daily help, said Brian Levitt with Integral Real Estate, who represented the owner. While neighbors preferred several smaller buildings, Levitt said the design would be based on what was best for seniors living in the complex, some of whom will have mobility issues.

He assured the Planning Commission that DeMarsico is planning to find a reputable company to operate the facility and meet all state licensing requirements.

According to Analiese Hock with the Jeffco planning department, traffic engineers said no road improvements would be needed to accommodate traffic generated by the facility.

Levitt said DeMarsico had tried putting office and commercial development on the property, but nothing came to fruition.

The property is a good location for a senior group living facility because the facilities already in Evergreen are full, Levitt said, and this location is close to Interstate 70 and to shopping for residents.

“There’s clearly a need for a certain segment of the market who wants to keep their parents in Evergreen,” Levitt said. “This is compatible with our surrounding neighbors because it’s in between residential and commercial development. The use we are describing is commercial, but, physically, it will look residential.”

He said the facility’s proximity to Evergreen Country Day School would be a win-win for both organizations because seniors volunteer in schools.

Don Bennett, a representative with the Evergreen North Area Balanced Land Use Effort, or ENABLE, told the Planning Commission that ordinarily the organization opposes exceptions to zoning, but a senior group living facility is a more attractive use for the area than other options.

Evergreen real estate agent Bill Downes said the proposal involves “the right time and right place for this use. It is up to us kids to take care of our parents. There is not enough of this product type in Evergreen.”

Contact Deb Hurley Brobst at deb@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1041. Check www.CanyonCourier.com for updates.