The Sacramento City Council is set to hear an appeal Tuesday on a senior housing project in east Sacramento that some neighbors contend would negatively affect the area.
DT Real Estate Investments is proposing to build a 20,000-square-foot, three-story assisted living facility to serve 32 seniors. The site at 3333 I St. is currently home to a Jehovah’s Witnesses church.
The new complex would stand 37 feet tall and include two dining rooms, a kitchen and 28 resident rooms, according to a city staff report. It also would have eight on-site parking spaces.
The city Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the proposal in October, but some neighbors who live close to the facility appealed to the City Council, citing concerns about parking and congestion.
Ted Wells filed the appeal, calling the design plans “an elevated cubicle high above the street.”
“There too many people living in far too small of a space,” said Wells, who lives behind the project on H Street and is an architectural historian by training.
The neighborhood on I Street already contains several apartment units, duplexes and the Sacramento Turn Verein. Sutter Middle School and Lincoln Law School of Sacramento are a short walk away.
To mitigate concerns, developer Steve Trolio has rented eight parking spots from Turn Verein across the street, making for a total of 16 spaces. Trolio said most of the senior residents aren’t likely to have cars and that they would not have huge numbers of visitors.
“The seniors are very quiet. They’re the best neighbor anyone could ever have,” he said.
Some neighbors say the rented spaces are not sufficient, noting that at peak times, street parking in the area is difficult to find.
John Westerfield and his wife live in an apartment directly across from the project. Westerfield said he often sees vehicles blocking driveways and cars struggling to pass each other. “To call this a street is really stretching it,” said Westerfield, 45. “It’s really I Street alley.”
Since many homes don’t have garages or driveways, the block is routinely lined with parked cars, residents said.
A grass-roots campaign to halt the project is emerging. The newly formed East Sacramento Residents for a Better Community group has printed and distributed fliers attacking the complex as “a bad fit for our community.” Large signs denouncing the project have been plastered across area buildings. “Stop this monster,” reads one sign, written in bold letters.
Gregory Bitter, a principal planner with the city, said concerns about traffic and congestion are unfounded. “The property historically has been used as a church, so it had a higher intensity use than a single-family home,” Bitter said.
Several neighborhood groups, including the East Sacramento Improvement Association, got behind the project once the developer agreed to add more parking. “We have a need for such a facility,” said Paul Noble, association president.
Given the backing of those groups and city staff, “the opponents have the burden to show why we shouldn’t approve it,” said Councilman Steve Cohn, who represents the area.
“I’m leaning toward saying yes, subject to the evidence of the hearing,” Cohn said.
Landlord Marilyn Messner, who owns 16 apartment units adjacent to the project, remains concerned. The senior housing, she said, would tower over her units and invade the privacy of tenants.
“Who would want to live next door?” she asked.
Call The Bee’s Richard Chang at (916) 321-1018. Follow him on Twitter @RichardYChang.