Spokesmen from architectural firm The Baldwin Group, based in Marietta, requested rezoning of 10.7 acres from R-1 Residential to O-I Office Institutional. The project location is on Ridgeview Lane and College Drive, and is listed as Cason Road Healthcare LLC.
Proposed is a new $10 million nursing home that would employ approximately 120 people, providing care for elderly and other nursing home occupants 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The 120-bed facility would replace the existing 116-bed Cedar Springs Health & Rehab, at 148 Cason Road.
“We don’t build a lot of new nursing homes. They’re expensive,” M. Christopher Baldwin, president of The Baldwin Architectural Group, told commissioners during Monday’s presentation. “That’s why we have so many of these old buildings that just get renovated.”
The existing Cedar Springs location has been renovated in past years, but has simply outgrown the available space. The building is surrounded by a railroad, a road and paved parking, with no green space. The new location will be more attractive and less cramped, proponents said.
As a slide show projected images of the architectural renderings on a screen, Baldwin took commissioners through the proposal. Baldwin’s firm is responsible for the site planning and construction drawings and was hired by Reliable Healthcare, the management company for the Cedar Springs location. Reliable Healthcare also manages Chulio Hills Health & Rehab and Fifth Avenue Health Care, both in Rome.
The new nursing home’s design will consist of a group of separate buildings providing living areas, “getting rid of all those long hallways,” Baldwin said. The design incorporates newer philosophies of longterm care, moving from the traditional “instutional” style of design to a more “independent living” arrangement.
“It is built around a household concept,” Baldwin said. For example, residents won’t all be woken at the same time for a mass serving of breakfast. Instead, more independent residents could get up later if they chose and have breakfast when they decide they are hungry.
The proposal was presented during a public hearing preceding the regular commission meeting. After the presentation from the architectural firm was hear, the floor was opened for public comment.
Cason Road area residents Brian Gilmore and Nancy Holland both came to the podium to express concerns they share with neighbors about the proposed nursing home. Both stressed that while they support the nursing home’s construction, they have reservations about some details of the site plan, including traffic flows.
One point of contention is the use of a narrow roadway by the nursing home. The plans call for using the “lane” as a one-way service road. Residents of the area thought that lane was supposed to be closed and deeded back to adjacent property owners under an earlier rezoning hearing.
Other residents raised concerns about the proposed entrance to the nursing home campus, and the addition of traffic on the primary road. In addition, residents had questions about buffer zones, fencing and lighting.
Commissioners approved the rezoning request, but stipulated that the nursing home plan must come back to the commission for further review. The architects were also directed to meet with the neighboring property owners, with Gilmore and Holland serving as delegates, to attempt to reach compromises.