Planned assisted living center criticized in Gilbert - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Planned assisted living center criticized in Gilbert

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Posted: Thursday, September 21, 2006 6:04 am | Updated: 2:36 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

A second assisted-living facility is planned in Gilbert — a proposal that has raised concerns among homeowners.

About 33 neighboring homeowners attended a meeting regarding the proposed site Wednesday night at Chandler’s nearby Basha Library. In what were at times emotional tones, they argued they were worried plans by New Jersey-based New Dawn Assisted Living to build three 16-room, onestory homes would devalue their rural properties and put patients at risk around their horses.

The facility planned for 16404 S. Higley Road near Frye Road would be for Alzheimer’s or dementia patients. It would resemble a private residence, and New Dawn associate David Weissel said it is expected to have minimal impact since no residents will drive vehicles.

But homeowner Joan Pierskalla said she is concerned patients could wander from the facility and fall into an irrigation ditch or be harmed on the large rural, horse properties.

“This is a cancer in our neighborhood that can grow if we let it,” said homeowner Rob Tucker.

Eric Boe, chief development officer for New Dawn Development Co., fielded residents’ questions for an hour.

He said a fence and alarms at the home would prevent residents from getting out.

He added there have been no problems in similar facilities built throughout the nation. A similar development is planned in Chandler.

The 3.3-acre planned site for the facility is on county land but would be annexed and rezoned to Gilbert for single-family homes. Wednesday’s meeting was the first step in the approval process.

Some homeowners are also concerned the assistedliving site could in the future become some kind of group home or halfway house once the land is rezoned.

“I think it’s atrocious for this neighborhood,” said homeowner Major Joe Clements. “I can’t see how it can help but hurt a neighborhood. I would not like it to turn into a drug rehabilitation, which I know they can do.”

Weissel offered assurances, saying the company plans only an assisted living facility and does not expect, if approved, to leave the area.

For information on the proposal, visit the firm’s site at newdawnassistedliving.com.

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