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Eastchester Considers Assisted Living Facilites

EASTCHESTER, N.Y. -- The Eastchester Town Board held a special meeting Monday night to begin considering zoning changes that will provide more housing choices for senior citizens.

Margaret Uhle, the director of planning for the town, explained to the board that there is no zoning currently in Eastchester that will allow for the construction of assisted living apartments.

In 2004, Supervisor Anthony Colavita said the board at the time was met with opposition to a proposed nursing home in Eastchester in the north end of town.

At the time, Colavita said, there were many issues raised, such as employee parking and disposal of hazardous waste among them. The board changed the zoning, in 2009, so that neither a nursing home, nor an assisted living facility would be permitted within the town.

The town does have senior housing located on Lake Street in the southern end of town near Ciao's Restaurant.

The board has opted to re-examine the issue after two developers approached town officials to see if a change in the zoning law was something the board would consider.

There are two potential proposals for assisted living facilities in town, one location would be adjacent to the senior housing complex, and the second location would be in the north end where Ted Hermann's Auto Body shop is currently located.

Uhle said the board has several options – leaving the existing zoning in place, changing the zoning to allow assisted living or a facility that does not require a state license, as defined by the state, or changing the zoning to allow an assisted living facility or a nursing home.

"An assisted living facility can help with bathing and reminders to take medication, but they cannot provide nursing care," she said.

Uhle said that she has looked into some of the facilities around Westchester and noted that there have been some built already and several others are under consideration. In most, the apartments run from $4,500 to as high as $10,000 per month. All served three meals per day in a communal dining room, and many have a pool, beauty parlor, doctors offices and other amenities on site.

She said, applicants would have to be at least 55 years of age to live there, but the average age of most residents is between 80 and 85. Parking is not an issue as the vast majority of residents no longer own vehicles. The apartments at most facilities are a 400 or 500 square foot studio apartment, a 600 square foot one bedroom apartment or a 750 square foot two bedroom apartment.

"The apartments do not have stoves, ovens or cooktops," Uhle said. "They have just a small kitchen with a microwave, so the kitchens are very small."

Trustee Fred Salanitro suggested the board go visit an existing facility.

"It would be nice to see how it looks built, see the room sizes, and how it is maintained," he said.

Trustee Luigi Marcoccia said his biggest concern would be the number of visits emergency workers -police, fire and ambulance would have to make to the facility.

Colavita said there is clearly a need for this type of facility in town as many older citizens have told him they find taking care of a home too much for them. He asked Uhle to put together a package of information on assisted living facilities for the board to study.

"If we start to think about this now, we can make a decision by the end of the year," Colavita said.

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