Wellington Council Discusses Senior Housing Needs

Wellington Village Council members conducted a workshop on senior housing Monday to evaluate what kinds of programs and facilities are in place in Wellington for seniors and to look at what may or may not be needed.

Growth Management Director Robert Basehart said the discussion was initiated by members of the Wellington Senior Advisory Committee.

“I believe the concept is of a below-market residential senior, age-restricted community of residential units, with the village potentially participating by providing a site,” Basehart said.

He said the village has a wide range of senior accommodations, but council members and Senior Advisory Committee Chair Tony Fransetta agree that it lacks a place where seniors can sell their homes and downsize in the village.

“Senior housing is a very broad topic,” Basehart said. “It includes a lot of things.”

Components include intensive care facilities, of which Wellington has one, the NuVista facility, which also provides outpatient treatment as well as short-term stays.

“You’re all familiar with the issues of congregate living facilities,” he said. “What they are is assisted-living facilities that don’t provide a full range of medical care, but they do assist in preparation and distribution of meals and linen service, and helping people get dressed and taking medications.”

Basehart said that there are four types of congregate living facilities under state law, the first being those that allow up to six residents. Wellington has 17 of that type of facility, and under state law, they can go anywhere a single-family home can go, he said.

Type 2A facilities allow up to 14 residents, which can only go in multifamily neighborhoods and commercial zoning areas. Wellington has one Type 2A facility. Type 2B facilities allow up to 21 residents, he said.

Type 3 facilities are what people think of as institutionalized living, he said. Wellington has three such facilities approved, including NuVista, which has 600 beds, and one on the Wellington Regional Medical Center campus that has been approved for 100 beds. None of those have been built yet, he said.

The fourth type is what is called “aging in place.”

“We’ve got quite a bit of that in the village,” Basehart said, explaining that in the 2000 Census, about 8 percent of the population was seniors 65 or older. In the 2010 Census, it was 10.5 percent.

Basehart said the village has a number of programs designed for seniors who are aging in place, based on a survey done by the village.

Mayor Bob Margolis said he knows a number of seniors in Wellington who have sold their homes and moved to senior communities outside the village.

“They call them young retirement, and [the residents] range anywhere from 55 to 85,” Margolis said. “They’re looking to give up the responsibilities they have. They don’t want to mow the lawn anymore. They want to be in a community with people their age.”

Vice Mayor John Greene questioned the government’s responsibility to provide those facilities vs. the free market, and said he thought partnering with a private company was the best route to take.

“The bottom line is let’s partner with someone who feels there is a need,” Greene said. “The free market determines if there is a need. They come in and make the investment, and we work together to make sure they can be successful.”

Margolis said he believes government does have a place in providing assistance to seniors, and providing a place for seniors to age in the village. “Our seniors are aging, and they don’t want to go someplace else,” he said.

Greene said he was having difficulty pinning down what seniors in Wellington want and need.

For discussion, Councilman Matt Willhite suggested a “mini-Century Village” on a 10-acre site in the village and figuring out how many residents it could accommodate.

“Let’s look at this as a senior transitional, going from owning a home to downsizing to then maybe being in a skilled facility,” Willhite said. “What would that amenity size hold?”

Village Manager Paul Schofield said a zero-lot-line community would probably hold 40 or 45 units. “If you go to a patio home, which is generally attached, that number probably goes to 60 or 65,” Schofield said.

Two-story garden homes could go to about 80 on a 10-acre lot, where a multifamily home could accommodate as many as 130 or 140 units under current village code, he said.

Fransetta, a longtime advocate of a senior living facility in Wellington, said he had spent the past 10 years working to bring affordable senior housing to Wellington.

“It has been refined, defined, surveyed, resurveyed, regurgitated, and now I think I have a vision for you,” Fransetta said.

He said the not-for-profit Elderly Housing Development & Operations Corp. (EHDOC), of which he once was a member of the board, could build a facility at no cost to the village. He eyed the 10-acre civic site near the Mall at Wellington Green for that purpose.

“That is an ideal place to have housing built, perhaps up to 200 units, with a preference of serving our seniors in Wellington as far as we possibly and legally can,” Fransetta said, explaining that such a facility would have a live-in person on site to assist the residents. “They’re not allowed to dispense medicine, but they can advise and help the people within their limits.”

Fransetta suggested leasing the land to the development company, stipulating that it can only be used for senior housing. He said the facility would be managed by a residents’ association either appointed by the council or internally.

“By doing a not-for-profit entity, you’re not out to make money,” he said. “You only meet the wages and the cost. If they want transportation, they can pay for it. They can assess themselves for it. It’s done in a rent-type thing with stipulations that the people would be signing onto when they rent the property.”

Fransetta said he has talked to many residents who want to remain in Wellington but are going to outlying communities because that was all they could afford.

He said the building would be constructed through EHDOC at no cost to the village, and would be as attractive as anything in the village. “The bottom line is the need is there,” Fransetta said. “We’ve got the opportunity now to do something.”

Schofield said his staff would put together meeting notes to bring back to the council for further discussion.


  1. One gets to comment only if one is in support of this Low Income Senior Housing in Wellington. If one submits a comment that does not support this housing, the Town Crier censures the comment.

  2. Code Words:
    ‘below-market’ = Low Income= Government Housing Vouchers
    ‘affordable’= Low Income=Government Housing Vouchers

    Urge everyone to take the time and do an internet search on Elderly Housing Development Operation Corp or EDHOC. Google: EHDOC! Then click on “Communities” and see these sky ghettos. There will be 4 of them in Wellington. Senior Committee Chairperson, Tony Fransetta’s “Nonprofit” EDHOC does NOT build to Wellington architectural standards. The buildingS will be 4 ugly, rectangular boxes right smack in the middle of Wellington, because that is where Tony wants them. Take the green open space field near the Hampton Inn Hotel and fill it with these sky ghettos because Tony wants it there. It’s not where staff initially had recommended, it’s where Tony wants it. Tony didn’t like the staff’s recommendations. And Tony IS the BOSS!

    Tony Fransetta previously served on the board of an EDHOC. The Board of Directors of the EDHOC is rife with AFLCIO members. And as we all know, Tony is THE MAN when it comes to unions. Does the AFLCIO invest in these buildings?!!? And how come NO other people were invited to participate in the Village Council’s Workshop on Senior Housing other than Tony and the EDHOC man Tony brought to the meeting? And guess who was running the workshop…yep, good ole Tony!

    When Kpark land was going out for RFP the Wellington staff publically stated at a Senior Committee Meeting that they gave the potential developers Tony’s phone number so the developers could get in touch with him and then Tony could tell them: what HE wanted and WHERE HE wanted the Low Income Senior Housing to go. If only the same consideration was given to nearby neighborhoods by the Kpark land maybe there would not be such an uproar in the Village! This fumbling Council strikes again!

    And let’s face it, the government does NOT allow discrimination when it comes to housing. There is absolutely NO guarantee that any or only Wellington residents will get accepted. Anyone who states otherwise is lying. And we don’t need Tony whispering in his buddy’s ear who should get into the buildingS if they are built.

    It is time for this Council to stop giving away open space land in this village.(Cue Mayor Margolis to ask the Manager to mention that Wellington has plenty of open space due to the Wellington Environmental Preserve which is a giant drainage field to get the phospates out of Wellington water before it is released into the C51 canal and elsewhere.

    If Wellington is going to do a 99 year cheap land lease to Tony’s ‘Non Profit” let it NOT be open green fields. Find land elsewhere in Wellington, or ask PB County to dedicate land for Tony’s ‘NonProfit” do not take more open land to make way for a concrete jungle.

    As for the Mayor saying it’s government’s responsibility to provide housing. Yes, the Federal and County governments do that, not municipalities like Wellington. When was the last time Boca Raton or Palm Beach Gardens gave up open green space to build “below market”, “affordable” (Vouchers) housing?

    Oh, and there is absolutely no mention of the Wellington staff’s Senior Survey results in this article. It was discussed at the Council’s Senior Housing Workshop that Seniors in Wellington said there was NO NEED for more senior housing!!!!!!!!!!! Let’s repeat that, the survey, paid for by Wellington taxpayers, indicated there was NO NEED for MORE SENIOR HOUSING in Wellington!!!!! Councilmen Greene and Willhite spent the first half of the workshop, once again, berating staff (it’s a habit) about the Senior Survey Results (see, the results didn’t match what Tony wants!)

    After the Senior Housing Workshop, the group stood, genuflected then kissed Tony’s ring.

    This matter should go to the Wellington voters, along with any other major land deals this Council wants to undertake. If the majority of voters in March 2016 approve leasing, selling or buying Any land, so be it.

    This entire Council needs to be voted out! Too many of them are out for themselves and seek higher office. Margolis ran unsuccessfully for the Supervisor of Elections, Willhite is seeking a State Senator seat and years ago was called out for supposedly spending his Wellington taxpayer paid trips to Tallahassee feathering his own nest, and not the Village of Wellington’s needs. There are rumors that McGovern has higher aspirations at the State level also. Willhite and Greene started to pave the way for McGovern due to their not following the agreed upon rank voting for Howard Coates’ Council seat. Did Greene ask Attorney Cohen if he could only rank 1 council candidate, like Willhite did? That sure would be a coincidence!

    There is a political hierarchy being established in Wellington. An ordinary Joe or Joan is being squeezed out of serving Wellington by overly ambition political advocates who only support their kind for office. Don’t be surprised when another Council person is Termed Out and their spouse seeks their seat.

    In 2016, let’s vote IN people who are only interested in serving Wellington, not pandering by giving a Kpark Exclusive contract their Horse Park friends or the union boss and his union entities and cronies.

    And watch out for your Garbage and Waste bills! They are going up thanks to this Council, especially Councilman Willhite who advocated to go out for RFP, (he did not want to keep the current waste contractor at the CURRENT PRICE we pay for pickup). Willhite clearly advocated to loosen the criteria for bids (after he had lunch with a rumored former union fireman rep who owns a Waste Company) so that a company would be able to submit a bid to Wellington.
    And Yes, the Council loosen the criteria and Willhite’s lunch partner will be able to bid! What is wrong with this entire Council?!?!? It was the 3rd time Willhite pushed this loosening of standards and the docile Council went along with Willhite after Voting No, two times previously. Get a backbone!

    Leadership means you have to say NO sometimes and stop continuing to bow down to groups and entities. This Council needs a backbone!

  3. For the last 10 years our village is talking about it.Talk is cheap.If it was for horse it would have been done 9 year ago. lol

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