Expansion plans by the Waterford on the South Hill hinge on a solution to handling stormwater at the site.
The Waterford wants to build a 136-unit skilled-nursing center on the west side of Pittsburg Street across from its existing facility at 29th and Pittsburg.
The city must grant a special permit and a replat to allow development of the nursing center on nearly seven acres at 3510 S. Pittsburg.
The issue goes before the city hearing examiner next Tuesday at 9 a.m. in the second-floor conference room at City Hall.
Last year the Spokane hearing examiner gave tentative approval to the project but asked the Waterford to submit detailed plans for handling storm runoff from the buildings and parking lots.
Those studies are now completed and have been submitted to the city.
They call for digging oversize drywells and creating subterranean chambers to collect runoff from storms.
Soils at the site are shallow and have a layer of solid basalt rock beneath them. As a result, rainwater can build up in the shallow soil and then form pools on the ground.
After the initial hearing last August, property owner Lloyd Day wrote the hearing examiner and reported that storms frequently cause flooding along his duplexes, which are adjacent to the proposed Waterford expansion. He said he doesn’t want the nursing center to aggravate the problem.
Hearing examiner pro tem Mike Dempsey responded to the concerns by asking for detailed engineering analysis of the drainage issue. But Dempsey also said the city’s land-use plans encourage the development of nursing centers in neighborhoods.
Bernie Neil, managing partner for the Waterford, said his consulting engineers can assure that the stormwater plan will take care of the problem.
If the city approves the proposal, construction could begin later this year. It would take about a full year to complete.
Neil said there is a growing need for retirement and nursing home services on the South Hill.
The first phase of the Waterford, which included assisted-living apartments, independent-living units, and common areas such as a dining facility, was completed in 1991. The second phase was a health center with 57 skilled-nursing beds and was completed last year.
In all, the Waterford currently has about 300 units.
“There has been a significant demand for quality retirement services,” Neil said.
The South Hill is becoming a center for those services.
In a related development, the county hearing examiner last week approved a zone change for a 418-unit retirement center on the Palouse Highway near Regal. The Clare House retirement center is being developed by Harry Green through Harry Green & Associates.
Green in past years renovated the old Holy Names Academy on the North Side and the former Edgecliff Hospital in the Spokane Valley as retirement centers.
The new development will target low- and middle-income seniors, he said.
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