Council Continues Memory Care Appeal

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    Orinda’s City Council has continued the appeal by Wilder Owners’ Association on a 38-bed, 32,084 square-foot, congregate memory care facility to Jan. 19. The project at 1 Wilder Road had been approved by the Planning Department on July 14 and initially heard by the City Council on Nov. 17. City Council Members said they need more information to make a decision on the project.
    During the five-hour November City Council meeting, differing points of view and interpretations of zoning regulations and laws emerged with Wilder residents and attorney Shona Armstrong disagreeing with city officials on several issues. One in particular involved a change in Orinda Municipal Code 17.9.3 in 2015 which permitted the City to use the RL-6 property designation. A designation which allows a memory care facility.
    The proposed facility is also located in a public/semi-public zone bringing additional controversy. “Private, commercial, ‘luxury-class’ care businesses are not a public or semi-public use,” said Armstrong. Beaton, however, stated, “The specific purpose of the PS District is to preserve established patterns of diverse uses. The addition of a congregate care facility would add to the diversity of uses in the area, which consist of a single-family residential subdivision and associated athletic and recreational facilities.”
    City Council Member Dennis Fay noted the Council had much to consider following its November meeting, including concerns about ventilation, co-exposure and filtration in the proposed facility. Council Members also requested additional legal assessment of the project’s risks to the City. Additionally, the Council asked city staff to provide more information on potential geological hazards, utilities payback in the context of Proposition 218, clarification about codes for in-unit kitchens, ability to safely and timely evacuate patients, traffic, collisions and emergency vehicles on Highway 24 and screening vegetation.
    For information on accessing the Jan. 19 Zoom meeting or history on the memory care facility, which was first proposed in 2010, go to www.cityoforinda.org.

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