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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Jun. 13, 2018 3 months ago

County commission approves amendment, rezoning for assisted-living facility

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CERTUS Premier Memory Care Living is proposing to build its newest location along Conroy Windermere Road west of South Hiawassee Road.
by: Eric Gutierrez Staff Writer

A proposed senior assisted-living facility is one step closer to establishing a presence in West Orange County.

Orange County commissioners voted during their June 6 meeting to adopt a rezoning request and a small-scale comprehensive plan amendment pertaining to the 5.39-acre lot located at 7865 and 7753 Conroy Windermere Road, west of South Hiawassee Road. The property could be the next site for CERTUS Premier Memory Care Living.

The comprehensive plan amendment changes the property’s low-density residential land-use designation, Orange County Planner Nicolas Thalmueller said.

“At the hearing, the board voted to adopt the comprehensive plan amendment subject to changing the land-use label from Planned Development — Commercial (Assisted Living Facility) to Planned Development — Assisted Living Facility,” Thalmueller said.

He added that commissioners rezoned the property from R-CE Country Estate District to Planned Development subject to 15 conditions outlined by county staff. One of those conditions is a six-foot-tall wall along the eastern boundary of the property adjacent to any on-site parking areas.

The rezoning and comprehensive plan amendment allow for the construction of a 43,000-square-foot, 64-bed assisted-living facility. Cost of the building is estimated to run between $12 to $13 million, and construction is expected to begin in November. CERTUS Premier Memory Care Living anticipates accepting residents by September 2019, CERTUS Senior Living CEO Glen Pawlowski said.

“The community is dedicated solely to serving individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia,” Pawlowski said. “The community is made up of two residential wings for 32 residents each. … The wings contain residential suites surrounding a courtyard, which contains covered porches, fountain, walking paths and gardening planters. The common area of the wings contain kitchen and dining areas and family rooms. There are additional spaces throughout the wings for smaller gatherings. (It’s) very home-like. Laundry facilities are available as well as a spa room in each wing.”

Pawlowski added he was pleased with the commission’s decision.

“We are a residential use (development) where people with Alzheimer’s and dementia can live an engaging and safe lifestyle that accommodates their specific needs,” he said. “We believe CERTUS will be able to contribute to the community in a positive and meaningful way. (Because) we never have been a ‘commercial use,’ the ‘commercial label’ was more administrative in the county code than actually descriptive of the development and services we provide to the community and our residents.”

Eric Gutierrez is a staff writer with the West Orange Times & Observer and Windermere Observer. He graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2015 with a dual degree in Journalism and Political Science. Got a story idea? Contact Eric at...

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