The Swanton Planning Commission approved Tuesday two variances for apartments in the Turtle Creek development. A separate variance request for property on E. Airport Highway was not approved.
The variances were requested by the Miller Valentine Group. Pete Schwiegeraht represented the developer at the meeting, answering questions from the commission and residents.
Several residents of the Westpointe Estates subdivision attended the meeting to raise concerns about the proposal on 126 E. Airport Highway. A petition signed by subdivision residents opposing the apartments at that site was presented to the commission.
The property where the apartment was proposed backs up to the subdivision.
Village residents expressed concerns about traffic, possible flooding, and loss of privacy that could come with the construction of a three story apartment building. Commission members were concerned about having residential property in the middle of the Airport Highway commercial district.
Commission member Chuck Erdman requested the variance be tabled and Roger DeGood agreed.
The site was to have two buildings, one facing Airport Highway and the other facing to the east with a total of about 75 units. The rear of the property would have been green space.
One resident mentioned the need for more senior housing options in the village, which led directly into the next request.
Schwiegeraht introduced plans for a senior independent living complex in Turtle Creek, to be located on Turtle Creek circle to the east of the building housing Promedica Labs. It would be for residents 55 and older, but Schwiegeraht added that the average age of residents in other communities is about 78.
Miller Valentine Group has other properties in Whitehouse, Sylvania, Wauseon and Perrysburg. They are Senior Villas in Wauseon and Whitehouse and The Residenz at Sylvania and Harbor Town in Perrysburg.
The Swanton site would have up to 54 units. It would be mostly 1 bedroom apartments with some 2 bedroom, Schwiegeraht said. Amentities in the senior independent living would include transportation, in home meals, light housekeeping and health care referrals.
“The whole goal is to keep seniors independent and on their own absolutely as long as possible,” said Schwiegeraht.
The next variance request was for multi-family apartments that would be located on Waterville Swanton Road (State Route 64) south of Farmers and Merchants State Bank. It was approved by the commission and with its approval, Schwiegeraht withdrew the request for the variance on 126 E. Airport Highway.
“We wanted to bring (the proposals) forward, have discussion and see what the community is comfortable with,” he said.
This site would be smaller in scale than the one proposed on E. Airport Highway. It would have up to 66 units but Schwiegeraht said it would likely be mid to high 50s and could be smaller.
Their apartments have no HUD, no Section 8 or other subsidies for residents, he added.
Miller Valentine Group will apply for funding assistance from the state for the projects, which allows them to be more affordable. If approved for funding, construction could start as soon as fall of this year. That is one of multiple steps required before the apartments would be completed.
Each project is a development of $10-12 million. Schwiegeraht said market research showed a need in Swanton for both senior and multi-family rental options.
With the changes being approved by variance instead of a zoning change to residential, the approval is for only these specific projects, said Mayor Ann Roth. Another developer would not be able to put residential on the site.