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Gates community raises concerns over proposed senior housing center



GATES, N.Y. — Plans for a new senior housing center in Gates are bringing out alarms from the neighbors and questions from town leaders.

On Monday night, the town board voted to table a request from the facility’s aspiring developers for future consideration.

The proposed home would be located off Lyell Road near Armstrong Elementary school.

“I’m right here on Wegman. So it’s literally right behind my property,” exclaimed neighbor Stephanie Lauth who questioned the placement, and even the need for the facility.

She voiced her misgivings Monday night in a public hearing before the town board.

“Why do we need a 40,000 square-foot footprint In one of the last green spaces in Gates?” she asked board members.

Peregrine Senior Living of Syracuse plans to build a 90 bed home on 5 acres provided by Rochester Christian Church Ministries.
Fifty-four of the facility’s beds would be devoted to assisted living while 36 would be for memory care, patients in varying stages of dementia.

“We are very excited to be here,” exclaimed Stephen Bowman, president of Peregrine Senior Housing.

Developers are asking the town for a conditional use permit to let them make the building two stories tall. Bowman told the board that making the building higher would allow it to take up less room on the ground, allowing more room for setbacks and green space.

He showed the town board a video presentation of a similar facility near Syracuse but added that the Gates facility could look very different depending on the desires and concerns of its new neighbors.

Board members and some neighbors raised concerns over how much, or how little, contact the developers have had with them up to now.

“If we’re looking to create a partnership here,” Gates Town Supervisor Cosmo Giunta asked, “why weren’t we included in any of this at all? Even a conceptual plan prior to this?”

Lauth complained that a briefing to the community last week was only announced at the last minute and very few people.

“It doesn’t seem like they’ve gone out of their way to involve the community and get folks involved and get their feedback,” she said.

“That’s silly,” Bowman said. “We invited every neighbor in the area to come to a public presentation last week. So we’re doing everything we can.”

Peregrine predicted the project would create 300 construction jobs and 65 permanent ones and bring Gates $150,000 a year in taxes.

Bowman said putting the facility in the middle of a neighborhood, next to a school, and a church is exactly the right environment for the senior citizens who would live there.

“We operate buildings all over the country,” he said. “We’ve never had a problem with the neighbors or the neighborhood. So this would be my first time.”

If the project is approved, developers predicted construction would start in the spring of 2021.