JEFFERSONVILLE — A large-scale senior living center could be coming to an undeveloped section of Jeffersonville in the coming years.
Members of the Jeffersonville City Council will take the final vote on rezoning a vacant lot at 2105 Hamburg Pike — near the intersection with Dutch Lane — to high density multi-family at Monday's meeting. The request previously received a favorable recommendation from the city's plan commission.
In years past, a more commercial-focused development path was envisioned for this area of the city. But planning and zoning director Chad Reischl said that with the growth seen on the other end of Hamburg Pike near Veterans Parkway, a pivot was necessary. He noted that in many ways, the assisted living center could have the features of a commercial center, as it it would have a staff of roughly 50 people to care for its elderly residents.
"This is an area of town that hasn't seen a lot of investment in many, many years," Reischl said. "It's always been slated for commercial development, but with the expansion of commercial development we're seeing near Veterans, I don't think it will become the major hub that was envisioned. Transitioning to a more residential use in this area will probably be a good thing."
The proposed four-story building, Reischl added, could help boost growth on the strip, which sits just outside downtown Jeffersonville.
Though the proposed rezoning doesn't align with the comprehensive plan for the area, the opinion from the plan commission states that it is justified by the "current conditions" of the area. By constructing the site, the area could become more desirable without adversely affecting neighboring properties. This is partially due to vacancies and underutilization in the surrounding land.
“I think it's going to bring some new life and a little bit of energy into that area," he said. "Maybe some other people will follow suit. This particular property has been vacant for a long, long time. A lot of the surrounding areas are certainly underutilized.”
According to plan commission and city council member Dustin White, when city officials put out comprehensive plans, they aren't necessarily set in stone. Rather, they are estimates of what could potentially be best for a portion of the city in the current economic environment.
White added that this particular private development would fit into the city's push to get more residents in the downtown area — specifically the Spring Street corridor, which is set to receive a series of improvements in the years to come.
"It's going to be a great addition," he said. "It's going to put a lot more people in the downtown area. It flows right into the Spring Street corridor. That's the kind of thing we can expect with more traffic. We'll have a safer corridor for people to travel.”
Though Bill Burns hasn't taken office yet, he will be sworn in Dec. 23 as the council representative for District 2, in which the proposed development sits. Coming from a background in real estate, he said the complex would serve the growing population of elderly people in the area. In the near future, he said more developments like this could come to the region as the average age of the country rises.
"We're going to have more people retiring and using these facilities at the highest rate in the history of the country," Burns said. "This is going to open up other housing, and I think you will see more [senior living centers] in our area. There's a vast need for those."