Expansion Of Retirement Complex Gets Design OK

12/12/2021 | News | Reading Time 1 Minutes

The San Rafael Design Review Board has endorsed a 10-year plan to expand the Aldersly retirement community. The board voted 4-0 at its Tuesday meeting to recommend that the Planning Commission approve the project. It would add a three-story independent living center and a service building to the property at 326 and 308 Mission Ave.

The board also recommends the elimination of a proposed gable roof feature on one of the buildings. “I prefer the previous elevation without the pitched roof,” board member Sarah Rege said. “I’m fine supporting it as it is.” The project would require the demolition of six buildings and the construction of three new buildings. Four buildings would be renovated and new outdoor spaces, including a memory care garden, an activity lawn and a rose terrace, would be added. The project would increase the number of independent living apartments from 55 to 69. The site would continue to have 35 assisted living and memory care beds and 20 skilled nursing beds. The number of parking spaces would increase from 48 to 56.

The project requires an environmental and design review permit, a zoning amendment and use permit applications. At a meeting in October, the board asked the applicants to add stepbacks on Mission Avenue, add more tree screening and reduce bioswales, which are shallow areas of landscaped land designed to absorb stormwater. “I do think the elevation has improved and I do think it’s appropriate for this site,” board member Sharon Kovalsky said. “I think it looks fine.” Board member Jeff Kent added, “I think the applicant addressed our concerns.” Residents Tymber and Derek Cavasian, who are neighbors to the site, voiced concerns about traffic on Belle Avenue.

Kovalsky said she shared that concern. Jayni Allsep, the contract planner working on the project, said it would be noted and addressed by the Planning Commission when it reviews the project.

More information on the project is at cityofsanrafael.org/aldersly. Aldersly is a nonprofit established in 1921.

By Adrian Rodriguez