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Group home gets expansion

by Christy Chalmers, Staff Writer

A group home for seniors and disabled adults planned in the Gardnerville Ranchos has approval for 19 more rooms.

The Douglas County Planning Commission approved the change Tuesday on a 4-1 vote. The change means the Sierra Assisted Living Foundation can expand the facility from 72 to 91 rooms, plus a manager’s unit.

The facility, to be located at 1227 Kimmerling Road, was originally approved in 1996. Backers want to provide affordable housing for senior citizens and disabled adults. They envision a cooperative environment in which residents garden, cook together and help each other.

The change approved Tuesday means 14 single-occupancy and five double-occupancy rooms will be added.

Judi Waite, president of the SALF board, said the extra rooms were needed to make the project more attractive to a lender. Plus, some prospective residents inquired about rooms for couples.

“People asked us what we would do for couples,” she said. “We decided to address that now. We had double rooms planned in phase two, but who knows how far down the road that will be.”

She said the first buildings could be erected this spring. Boys at the China Spring Youth Camp have been assembling modular buildings that will be used at the SALF facility.

The only planning commissioner to oppose the change Tuesday, Michael Hayes, cited his original opposition to the project. He said the site is in a receiving area and projects built in receiving areas should use development rights transferred from other areas.