Another view of apartment vote
After watching the eventual acceptance of Norsouth senior apartments coming to Peachtree City off of Newgate Road, I am bringing to you a different perspective, mostly because people should know that this has the potential for being a very positive thing for our city.
Right now it seems a bit tainted due to the legal circumstances surrounding the approval of the development, but rest assured this housing option for seniors could serve a great need, especially given our renowned status in 2008 as one of the Top 10 Places to Retire.
Going on the Norsouth tour back in June 2010, we found out about their financing methods, their federal mandates on age restriction which their funding is based upon, the fact that all of their current age restricted facilities are at least 98 percent occupied and most have a waiting list.
The apartments are not rent subsidized. All residents must pay 100 percent of their monthly rents. Eighty percent of the 94 units have a maximum income requirement, while the other 20 percent are available at market value.
The group spoke to the residents, toured both occupied and unoccupied units, and saw the condition of their facilities both older and newer. From my observations the residents seemed happy. The facilities were well maintained. Bottom line I would be in favor of my mom or grandmother living there, no problem.
In our community, it is a good thing to have an affordable residential option that keeps our seniors as independent as possible for as long as possible. We currently are lacking that in our community.
It helps to have our seniors nestled into bedroom communities like ours so that our in-laws and grandparents can afford to live among us without actually living under the same roof.
Not that we don’t love our parents and grandparents, but I am sure they would appreciate being able to participate in the daily lives of their grandchildren and children but then be able to go home, and get away from them too. This residential option does this, in an affordable way.
The parking situation has been pointed out as a concern by many, but the fact was that at several of the facilities we toured, the parking lots were barely used because most of the residents did not own cars anymore.
Even though the minimum age is 62, the average age was more like 75-85. Which explains why they did not have cars. Also it was pointed out that family members often did the transporting.
With this in mind, visitor parking ends up being more important than resident parking. This also solidified the notion that our golf cart community is a good fit and could potentially keep seniors independent longer — their proximity to shopping, medical offices, hair stylists, etc. in Kedron Village encourages that as well.
Financially speaking the potential for sales and property tax revenue annually has been estimated at $7 million for the city. So not only does it fit a niche in our community, we make some much needed revenue too.
Now is this project perfect? No. There are concerns about future management and upkeep. It would have been better if there were fewer units. It would be even better if the city had some influence over the future management. I would have loved to see the elimination of the cul-de-sac in the current plan and some more green space planted in its place.
It would have been better to get a commitment to not only expand the path system to connect the development, but to require improvements to the current path system that will become a safety issue down the road with increased use and senior citizen traffic. We should ask for more covered golf cart parking, with charging stations. But these are all workable concerns.
The fact is there is no factually based reason to not accept this development. Are there risks? Of course. There are never any sure things. Do we have the basis to deny a project solely based on “what ifs”? No. If that were true we could not justify approving anything, ever.
However, based on “what ifs” we do have the ability and responsibility to take action within the development agreement to minimize our risks and maximize perpetual success. Hopefully, we still have the framework in place to do that with Norsouth.
Norsouth is bringing something to this city that we do not have. They are filling a need, and all of their similar projects are essentially a success.
We should all encourage the city to work with Norsouth with a glass half full philosophy. It has enormous potential to be very successful.
Peachtree City, Ga.