Residents of Timp Meadows subdivision are getting two weeks to "accept the inevitable": their newest neighbor is going to be a residential facility for elderly people.
The City Council voted 3-2 to postpone action on approving the facility after a group of residents asked for time to review what is proposed - and to see if there are any legal means of keeping the facility out of their subdivision.Councilmen Lloyd Ash and Dan Fugal, with Mayor David Holdaway casting the deciding vote, opted to wait two weeks before taking action on the proposed home. Council members Mary West and Keith Christeson voted against postponing action. The council will reconsider the proposal at its meeting March 19.
The facility, to be located at 72 E. 1200 North, is proposed by Beehive Homes, operated by Dennis Toland. The home would have up to eight residents, primarily people who have lost a spouse and who want to continue to live in a family setting.
Residents have to meet certain criteria - for example, they can't be bedridden, Toland said. The home would be managed by a woman or couple who would live there. A second manager would work at the facility during the day, and a part-time person would work there evenings.
Beehive Homes operates five similar facilities in Boise.
Residents opposed to the facility, who presented the council with a petition signed by 20 people, said it is incompatible with the predominant character of their neighborhood.
The neighborhood is filled with young, growing families. The subdivision had 19 homes and 67 children at last count.
"Down the road a ways, are we going to end up in a situation where we get a call from the police saying we've got an awfully rowdy neighborhood up there?" asked Gregory L. Lyman, a representative for the group.
Property values might also be negatively affected, he said.
And the residents are concerned that if the business fails, the residential facility would be difficult to convert to singlefamily use. For example, it will have eight bedrooms and 10 bathrooms.
"We feel like its only use would be as an elderly care facility," Lyman said.
Another resident, Sterling R. Boren, said that according to the subdivision's covenants, only single-family homes are to be built there.
But Doug Bezzant, Pleasant Grove zoning and building officer, told the council more than 50 percent of the homes in the subdivision do not meet its restrictive covenants. It has been years since an organized body existed to enforce the covenants.
In addition, Utah State Code specifically states that a residential facility for elderly persons must be allowed in any area zoned for single-family dwellings, provided it meets certain criteria. The proposed facility meets all the criteria.
Therefore, the city cannot lawfully turn down the proposal.
City Council members said more control would be exercised over the construction and operation of the facility than over a private home built on the site. They also said having it in the neighborhood could turn out to be "a blessing."
Councilman Ash said residents could not predict future use of the home should the business fail.
"I'm the guy that bought the (Olpin) mortuary and turned it into a home," Ash said.
One daughter's bedroom used to be an embalming room; the dining room could easily seat 140 people.
"It's made a real nice home," he said.