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RH Council OKs senior-living development
Richmond Hill Plantation residents express concerns for traffic, more
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Another development in Richmond Hill for senior citizens is a step closer to reality.

The City Council last week approved plans for Ashleigh Place Senior Apartments, an 80-unit mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments in a portion of Richmond Hill Plantation, a subdivision off Timber Trail Road.

The council approved a site plan and elevations for the apartments by a 3-0 vote at its March 4 meeting, with council member Johnny Murphy recusing himself due to former ties with the property.

But the action came only after a handful of Richmond Hill Plantation residents questioned the proposed development.

Edward Carpenter told the council he’d heard the apartments would be low income, which got a quick interruption from Mayor Harold Fowler.

“One clarification — this is not low-income housing,” Fowler said.

Carpenter, who said he’s lived in Richmond Hill Plantation a year and has children, and fellow subdivision resident Matthew

Branson wanted to know more about who would be moving into the apartments.

The two also expressed concerns about traffic, as the new development will only be accessible from inside Richmond Hill Plantation.

Branson asked how kids who might be staying with adults in the apartments would be monitored.

Their questions were answered by Tracy Doran, president and co-founder of the Humanities Foundation, which is developing the apartments.

Doran said the company has 4,200 units in four states that are leased only to those 55 and older. She called the apartments “age in place” residences and said Ashleigh Place is intended to provide an alternative to extended care facilities for people from 55 to 90.

“We’re hoping to make it a model program,” she said, noting residents can have their health care monitored there. “They can ‘age in place’ there and not have to go to a senior long-term facility or an extended care facility.”

Income requirements will be anywhere from $22,000 to $25,000 annually, Dorran said, and those who move in won’t be allowed to bring in younger family members on a permanent basis.

She said grandchildren would be allowed to spend weekends, which drew a question from council member Jon Fesperman.

“But you wouldn’t have a problem with grandchild coming to stay the summer with their grandparents, or coming for an extended visit?” he asked.

“We haven’t had that problem,” Dorran responded.

As for traffic, Fowler noted the original plans called for 95 town homes.

“That’s all been master-planned,” he said. “We’re looking at 80 now, so it’s been downsized.”

Fesperman also pointed out work on Timber Trail Road will be completed soon — and so will the light at Timber Trail and Highway 144.

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