Senior housing plan doesn’t find favor with commission

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Washington Planning Commission voted to recommend that City Council disapprove an application for a 60-unit senior housing building proposed for Elm Street at its meeting Wednesday.


Residents of Elm and Murdock streets and McGiffin Avenue attended to object to the plan. They told the planning commission there already are water runoff problems in the area, they don’t want more traffic and the residential neighborhood is not conducive for an apartment building.


“Our area sure does not need revitalized,” said Carla Mast, of 290 Elm St.


Neighborhood Development Services was contacted by the Washington County Housing Authority regarding a need for senior housing in the area. NDS looked at the 4.9-acre site between Elm and Murdock streets owned by Mark Tarbuck.


NDS would seek funding through the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency’s tax credit program for the project estimated to cost between $7 million and $8 million, said NDS Director Mike Bogo prior to the meeting.


Anyone living in the building would have to be 62 or older. It would be managed by the county housing authority.


“None of us feel that’s the place to put a 60-unit apartment building,” said Chris Potts of 612 Murdock St., who noted the project would need rezoning to a residential, R-3, classification.


Although architect Dennis Madama noted that construction would involve managing stormwater runoff, John Zollars, who resides at 130 McGiffin Ave., said he was given similar promises when Presbyterian SeniorCare expanded.


“I get more water on my property now than I ever did,” he said, adding he wanted to see the property remain green.


Commissioners Nicholas Dubina, Daniel Petrola, Ryan King and Mark Culleton voted not to recommend the plan to City Council. Commissioners Gordon McMurray, Gene Mercer and Angelo Musto were not at the meeting.


First on the agenda was a presentation by the Washington City Mission to expand its donation and recycling center at 84 W. Wheeling Street. That plan was tabled after commission members said they needed to explore whether an ordinance prohibits the mission from expanding its footprint in the area.


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