Wellington Zoners Recommend OK For Senior Facility Change

Wellington’s Planning, Zoning & Adjustment Board recommended approval last week of a zoning text amendment that would allow a maximum of four Type 2B congregate living facilities for residents 65 or older within a half-mile radius. This would be less restrictive than the current 1,000-foot separation requirement.

At the May 10 meeting, Senior Associate Planner Damian Newell said Type 2B housing was originally proposed by applicant Wellington Elder Care in 2012 to provide housing options that are different from other congregate living facilities, such as Type 1 for up to six residents, Type 2A for up to 14 residents, and Type 3 and 4 that are determined by the land use density.

“The other types of CLFs do not restrict the occupancy to only seniors, which the Type 2B currently does,” Newell said. “The applicant recently submitted a request to increase the allowed occupancy of Type 2B from 21 to 42 residents. After working with staff on these standards as it applies to Type 2B, the applicant amended the request, and the increase to 42 residents would be considered a Type 3 and would require additional location standards.”

If the change to the separation requirement is approved and adopted, the applicant will be submitting a future request to allow a new Type 2B facility on the lot adjacent to their current location at 14097 Lily Court, Newell said.

The request will amend the village’s land development regulations by removing the existing 1,000-foot separation requirement to allow a maximum of four Type 2B facilities with no separation requirement.

“The 1,000-foot separation will still be required, however, between Type 1, 2A, 3 and 4,” Newell said.

The Type 2B standards will still require conditional use approval, be specifically for residents age 65 or older with a maximum occupancy of 21 residents for each facility, have minimum room and staff standards above the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration requirements, be allowed only in multifamily residential districts, and not be allowed within 500 feet of a single-family residential district unless approved by the Wellington Village Council.

The facilities must also be located within a quarter-mile of a collector or arterial roadway, within 1.5 miles of a full-service fire station and within 3 miles of a full-service hospital.

The facility would be required to utilize reduced parking methods and prohibit on-site parking of residents’ personal vehicles, he said, explaining that visitation is staggered and staff is encouraged to carpool.

“Typically, these types of facilities would have a lower parking demand than your typical multifamily,” Newell said.

The minimum lot size for each Type 2B facility would be 11,500 square feet.

When the original application was made in 2012 to allow the Type 2B concept, staff created a buffer map that showed as many as 14 potential locations with a 1,000-foot separation within the multifamily area, but since the approval, Wellington still has only one of those facilities, which is operated by the applicant, Newell said.

With the request to remove the 1,000-foot separation and allow up to four Type 2Bs within a half-mile radius, staff used the same separation map and overlaid the previous Type 2B locations, which showed that four additional Type 2B buildings could be allowed within the overlay than originally anticipated.

“Limiting the Type 2Bs to only four within a half-mile radius does minimize the impact on infrastructure and preserves the character of the neighborhood,” he said, adding that the request is consistent with Wellington’s comprehensive plan objective to encourage housing options for senior citizens.

The amendment would also allow seniors to continue living within close proximity to family and friends and provide an affordable housing option.

“Removing the separation requirement and allowing four Type 2Bs within a half-mile radius will allow for seniors to live in a homelike environment instead of a large institutional-type CLF, and still preserve the multifamily neighborhood character,” Newell said, adding that village staff had not received any negative comments from the public regarding the application.

Damian Brink, representing Wellington Elder Care owners Ricardo and Rosa Gutierrez, said the change makes tweaks to the original 2012 amendment, and that all Type 2B requests will still require council approval.

Brink reiterated that since the 2012 change, no other Type 2B congregate living facilities have been established in the village. He added that Wellington Elder Care has a waiting list of more than 30 potential residents, and most of the potential residents are Wellington residents.

“We feel there is a need for this text amendment,” he said, explaining that the applicant’s only request was to remove the 1,000-foot requirement.

PZA Board Member Jeffrey Robbert made a motion to recommend approval of the amendment, which carried 6-0 with Board Member Carol Coleman absent.

The council’s first reading of the proposed change is scheduled for May 23, with the final reading on June 13.