More than 50 Gilbert residents crowded into a Civic Center boardroom Thursday — some to decry a proposed three-story senior living complex and others to urge the construction of a rare senior home in town.
The town’s Design Review Board listened to three hours of comments before deciding to delay a decision, saying they believed the developer, Virginia-based Sunrise Senior Living, could change plans to appease the neighborhood.
The board has the final word on whether the buildings will be constructed, but residents are threatening to appeal the approval to the Town Council.
Since residents first raised concerns a few weeks ago, Sunrise lopped a floor off one building, making both structures three stories. But some opponents still worry. They say they feel overwhelmed by the prospect of a taller building so close to home.
A resident near the proposed site, Richard Carroll, showed pictures to illustrate how building residents could peek into nearby backyards.
Others, though, including former state Sen. Jay Blanchard, want new facilities for their aging parents.
“We are a town of 180,000 people, almost all single-family homes,” said resident Mike Evans. “It would be great to be able to have our aging parents near us and not 45 miles away.”
Sunrise attorney Lynne Lagarde noted that Gilbert recently constructed the Page Commons, a three-story senior living center in the Heritage District.
Sunrise buildings include assisted and independent living. Rents would range from $3,000 to $4,000. Sunrise said they cut to two stories a building corner near homes, designing a balcony at the top that later could become a third story. More trees were added to block views, and West Lago Boulevard was made an emergency exit amid worries about traffic.