The proposal calls for an independent living component with 415 semi-detached units, congregate care with common dining and recreation areas and skilled nursing on 34 acres along Del Obispo Street, according to a city staff report. Residents would be age-restrict to 60 years old and older.
While the retail outlet of Armstrong would remain -- though initially staff said at last week's council meeting it wouldn't -- the "fields" behind it would definitely go.
Although the land is zoned for agriculture, "they’re not growing crops in the ground, they’re not growing plants in the ground," said Nelson Miller, interim director of development services. It's really a distribution center where plants grown elsewhere wait to get shipped out.
Armstrong is working with the city to find another location in San Juan Capistrano, if possible, Miller said.
Councilman Larry Kramer said he was sorry to see the more agriculture-like use go.
"It looks like agriculture as I drive by, and it’s nice to have had it there. Things do change," Kramer said.One of the owners of the land, Gary Germann, told the council after dealing with the representatives from Menlo Park-based Spieker Senior Development Partners, "they the right ones we want as our neighbors."
The council voted 4-0, with Councilman Reeve recusing himself because the homeowner association where he lives owns property near the proposed development site, to have Spieker move forward with a zone change that could usher in the project.
While all welcomed the tax dollars and employment the senior-living development would bring, Councilman Roy Byrnes had the funniest line of the night:
"I certainly support helping seniors because one day I’ll be a senior myself," he said. Byrnes is 89.