By Tammy Watts
GREENVILLE — The Greenville City Council held its regular meeting on Tuesday, January 18. Two zoning amendment recommendations were on the agenda: one pertaining to a change from Suburban Residential, to Planned Unit Development Residential (PUDR) on Lease Avenue; the second, from General Business, to PUDR on Adrien Avenue. During the public hearing, several residents voiced their opposition to multi-unit housing on Lease Avenue.
Complaints against the proposed development were mostly from residents of Buckeye Drive and Kings Drive, as the building would be located directly behind their homes. Their concerns included diminished property values, potential water drainage problems from new construction, and drug-related activity, as the housing is classified as “low income.” Traffic and safety issues were also discussed.
“We’re not against development, we just thought the area would be for single-family housing,” stated one resident.
Justin Metzler of National Church Residences, the developer, joined via Zoom. He stated that the proposed facility will be a two-story building with an elevator, containing 45 units, and that it is age-restricted to those aged 55 years and over. “Our typical resident is a single female, average age 70, usually with minor health problems, such as high blood pressure,” he stated.
Metzler explained that the need for affordable senior housing will increase exponentially in the coming decades. It is anticipated the senior population (age 65 and over) will nearly double, from 50 million, to 90 million by 2055. He added that Darke County is no exception, as 17,000 of its 51,000 residents are over 55. He also pointed out that in the vast majority of National Church Residences projects, 75% of the residents were already living in the community to begin with. Metzler addressed water drainage concerns, saying that his organization will be working with Choice One Engineering, and the City of Greenville to “ensure design standards are met to support existing infrastructure as a result of our development.”
While some in the community expressed concern over an increased burden on law enforcement and paramedics, Metzler said there will be a senior services coordinator on property to identify repeat callers to first responders, and help those individuals with medical and/or anxiety issues.
Another community member approached the podium and asked,” How can we really be sure who’s actually living there, with that type of property, and those types of people?”
According to Amy Rosenthal, a colleague of Metzler’s, National Church Residences is the nation’s largest provider of affordable senior housing, serving 33,000 people aged 55 and over. “When I hear ‘those types of people,’ I would be remiss not to speak on behalf of the seniors that National Church Residences houses,” she said. She went on to clarify that low income standards for the proposed housing development range from $13,000 to $38,000 a year, while the median income in Darke County is $48,000 a year.
No one voiced opposition to the proposed project on Adrien Avenue, which will be a 42-unit building, mainly for workforce housing, according to the developer.