Neighbors voice opposition to proposed assisted living facility

Residents near the Hithergreen Center fear a dramatic change to their neighborhood if a rezoning request that would allow an assisted living/memory support facility on the property is approved.

“That just doesn’t seem right to drop a nursing home/assisted living facility right in the middle of a neighborhood and take the only green space we have,” said Landon Hough, who lives about a block from Hithergreen on Overhill Lane.

Hough said his children along with others in the neighborhood use the green space around the Hithergreen Center to play.

The Washington Twp. Board of Trustees and Chapel Development, LLC signed a purchase and sale agreement for the property for $950,000 on March 27, but the agreement is contingent upon the township trustees approving the rezoning of the 14.89 acres of land located at 5900 Hithergreen Drive, Washington Twp. Administrator Jesse Lightle said.

“The sale has not taken place, and will not take place unless there is a rezoning,” Lightle said.

Officials placed the Hithergreen Center on the real estate market 13 months ago, after the township determined the facility was no longer viable after the township lost funding with the elimination of the Ohio Estate tax, according to Lightle. Hithergreen was in need of $2 million in repairs, including a new roof and HVAC system.

The township is moving Hithergreen’s senior programming to the Rec West Complex later this year after renovations there are completed, Lightle said.

The Washington Twp. Zoning Commission is expected to review the concept for the property at its meeting May 19 at Rec West, 965 Miamisburg Centerville Road.

Concept plans include a 46,182 square foot assisted living facility with 60 units and a central courtyard. The existing plan, which was revised by the developer Wednesday, May 13, removed a second planned facility on the property, and eliminated a portion of the existing parking lot to create space for a possible park, according to documents obtained by this newspaper.

“(The developer is) in talks with the Centerville-Washington Twp. Park District in order to look at a dedication of eight to nine acres for preserved open space and wooded area,” said Washington Twp. Zoning Manager Ryan Lee.

The existing Hithergreen Center is approximately 48,675 square feet.

Nearby resident Brian Feldmeyer said he is concerned about the possibility of more traffic, including emergency vehicles, driving through the neighborhood.

“The thought of those screeching through the neighborhood all hours of the night are very, very concerning,” Feldmeyer said.

Lee said a traffic study for the area in question showed approximately 400 trips are made to the Hithergreen Center daily. Should Hithergreen be demolished and the new assisted living center built, the developer estimated those trips would be reduced to 55 per day, Lee said.

Lee also said the developer indicated approximately 2.1 emergency vehicle trips per month would be expected with an assisted living center of the proposed size.

Hough is skeptical of the figures and remains against the concept entirely.

“The employees driving to and from, visitors to and from, so we’re thinking it’s quite significantly more than what they’re saying,” Hough said.

The zoning commission could make a recommendation on the concept to the board of trustees during Wednesday’s meeting, which includes a public hearing. The board of trustees would then decide whether to approve the zoning request at a future date.