Birmingham Planning Board members reviewed a preliminary site plan for a new five-story senior living facility by All Seasons Birmingham, approving a community impact study at their meeting on Wednesday, May 13, but were not satisfied with the preliminary site plan, which will return at a meeting in June after adjustments are made..
All Seasons Birmingham, an independent living facility which opened at 111 Elm Street in 2015, in the city's Triangle District, proposed a 25-unit senior independent living apartment building on a site adjacent to their current building, at 219 Elm Street, as a completely separate five-story standalone building which would operate independently of one another, planner Nick Dupuis said. It would have 25 units, 10 attached garages, surface parking, and a rooftop patio covering 45,366 square feet.
The site is currently occupied by an small office building and a parking lot.
Birmingham requires a community impact study for any building larger than 20,000 square feet.
Dupuis explained the community impact study acts as a foundation for discussion between the planning board and the applicant, beyond the normal scope of information addressed in the preliminary site plan review application. The board must accept it prior to taking action on a preliminary site plan.
The board agreed that the proposed development met the criteria of the community impact study for the Triangle District, including improving the appearance of the area by redevelopment with a new, visually attractive building and landscaping; improving economic and social vitality by encouraging diversity of use and providing much- needed independent senior housing, which introduces new residents to the community and allows current older residents in the area to stay in the community; improving comfort, convenience, safety and enjoyment of pedestrian environment by increasing pedestrian traffic within the Triangle District; and providing this senior housing in an area that has businesses to support the needs of seniors, who in turn provide a wider customer base for those businesses.
Among the issues planning board members had with the preliminary site plan included questions regarding LEED (leadership in energy and environmental design) certification, and a request for additional height. They were also concerned about the size of the building relative to the size of the lot, how close the first floor units would be to the sidewalk, and the overall size and scale of the building.
All Seasons is scheduled to return with a revised preliminary site plan on June 10.