Josh Thomason, a developer with Peachtree Housing, addresses the Leesburg City Council at a public hearing held Tuesday to consider rezoning a tract of land just inside the Leesburg city limits that will allow for a new senior housing development. (Staff photo: Brad McEwen)
LEESBURG — The Leesburg City Council tentatively approved a zoning request that will allow a new senior living development to locate in the community.
Following a public hearing at the Council’s regular meeting Tuesday night, council members voted unanimously to approve the rezoning of a 23.4 acres located between the Post Office on Robert B. Lee Drive, the Norfolk Southern Railroad and the Northwood subdivision that will allow Peachtree Housing to begin building Park Senior Village.
Josh Thomason of Peachtree Housing, the same company that recently developed Forrester Senior Village located near the intersection of U.S. Highway 19 and Forrester Parkway, told council members that the new development would be similar to Forrester Senior Village.
Leesburg City Manager Bob Alexander outlined certain conditions and stipulations that would have to be met if the rezoning request was approved.
First, the developer would have to agree to a leave a 30-foot undisturbed green-space buffer between the development and the subdivision to the south. The developer would also have to agree that the development would consist of a maximum of 50 units, and those units would be built with hardy plank or brick facades. The request also required that only residents 55 and older would be allowed to live in the development. The final stipulation is a sunset clause that would cause the property to revert back to C-2 commercial zoning should the development not materialize.
Thomason informed the council that not only would the company agree to those stipulations, but it wanted to add two others as a gesture of cooperation with potential neighbors in Northwood subdivision.
“We’re obviously acceptable and amenable to those (conditions),” said Thomason. “Working with our neighbors to the south we hope that you will agree to place two additional conditions upon us. Rather than a 30-foot buffer on the south side we are proposing that a condition be placed upon us for a 50-foot undisturbed buffer. And also on that southern property line we would like to agree to a 75-foot building setback.”
Offering feedback from the city planning commission’s decision to initially approve the request to move forward to the council, planning commission member Troy Golden told the council that the planning commission unanimously approved the request due to the fact that they felt the new development had some unique characteristics making it more like a traditional R1 residential neighborhood.
Golden said that because the 23.4 acres would accommodate just 50 units, the development would be spread out and have low density, as opposed to a traditional R-22 apartment development.
“There’s a reason this R-22 is unique and favorable,” said Golden. “It’s very low density. This is almost akin to an R-11 it’s so spread out. It seems to be a more upscale development.”
Golden recommended that the council approve with the various conditions listed in order to set a precedent that could be followed when considering future requests.
No one spoke against the request at the hearing and council member Bobby Wilson made a motion to approve the request contingent upon the various conditions, which was seconded by Debra Long. The council voted unanimously to approve.
In other matters, the Council approved a request to purchase $16,500 worth of video cameras for city police cruisers not currently outfitted with them. The request is to be funded by SPLOST VI funds as previously agreed upon.
Leesburg Police Chief Charles Moore told commissioners that once the purchase is complete, all of the city’s police cruisers will have cameras. He also said that the purchase price was $7,000 under the original requested budget.
The Council also approved a request from the public works department to purchase 10 Department of Defense surplus generators for city lift stations and wells.
The Council also asked City Attorney Bert Gregory to review a potential contract with Delinquent Tax Services to handle collection of delinquent city taxes. The proposed contract would not require any payment from the city unless taxes were recovered.
The Council also adopted a resolution honoring Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal for his continued support of Leesburg and its residents and approved a liquor license request for Paco’s restaurant.
Following it’s regular business, the council heard a brief overview from Alexander concerning a recent city employee compensations and classification study and the city’s five year capital plan.
The board agreed to discuss Alexander’s reports in greater detail at a city work session scheduled at 6 p.m. on May 20.