This retirement community in Cary hopes to expand. Demand is high.

This illustration shows what the Glenaire expansion could look like.
This illustration shows what the Glenaire expansion could look like.

Housing options for older adults in Cary could soon expand.

The Town Council on Thursday will hold a public hearing on a rezoning request that would allow for the expansion of Glenaire, a continuing-care retirement community on West Cornwall Road at Kildaire Farm Road.

In all, Glenaire's owner, Presbyterian Homes Inc., wants to build 192 independent-living apartments, 40 assisted-living units and an adult day care spread over nine buildings on nearly 12 acres.

Demand for such housing is high, said Tim Webster, president of Presbyterian Homes. Glenaire's wait list currently tops 450 households, he said.

Webster said he doesn't yet know what residents will pay for apartments in an expanded Glenaire. That's because he doesn't yet know the project's construction cost, which will depend on the demands Cary places on the project.

But in the existing Glenaire, the average monthly service fee is $3,154. Among other things, that fee covers utilities; two meals a day; weekly housekeeping, including laundering of bed linens; parking; use of the common areas; local transportation; activities; and access to health care.

Glenaire currently offers studio apartments and one and two-bedroom units. The expansion is likely to think bigger, Webster said.

"Our biggest demand is for larger accommodations like our villas on campus, and thus we hope to build two- and three-bedroom apartments," he said. "We are still contemplating some one-bedroom apartments."

If Cary grants the rezoning request, Webster expects the design and approval process to take 12 to 18 months. After that, he expects 18 to 24 months of construction.

Glenaire isn't the only project seeking to meet the demand for senior housing in Cary. In the past year, the town has OK'd rezoning requests for:

Waltonwood at Silverton, a life-care community with 111 independent-living units and up to 68 assisted-living units.

Ryan Springs Residential, which plans a maximum of 42 age-restricted multifamily dwellings for independent living.

An age-restricted neighborhood with 50 lots on Arthur Pierce Road.

"There are multiple other rezoning cases for age-restricted multifamily dwellings that have been submitted, and they are in the early stages of review," Debra Grannan, the town's associate planning director, said in an email.

In its review of Glenaire's proposal, Cary planning staff found much to like.

Increasingly in Cary, rezoning requests are for a mix of uses — housing, retail and offices, for example.

Glenaire, built 25 years ago, is next to Mayfair Plaza, a traditional shopping center anchored by Food Lion. That's a mixed use that stands to benefit both residents and shopkeepers.

"New residents on this site may help support retail and dining uses within" Mayfair, staff noted in its review.

The project could also help meet another of Cary's development goals, which is to provide more housing choices for all residents, including older adults in search of continuing care. In Cary, that kind of housing is "under-supplied," in the town's words.

The Glenaire expansion would lop off some of Mayfair Plaza, specifically the old Kmart space that is now home to Carolina Pottery. That's OK with Cary's Planning Department.

"The proposed rezoning facilitates redevelopment of a portion of the Mayfair Plaza shopping center, which was built 37 years ago and has been identified as an underperforming center in recent years," staff noted.

But Cary planners do wonder whether it's best to redevelop only a portion of Mayfair Plaza.

"It should be pointed out that we would like to see the entire center to redevelop, and redevelopment of part of the site could also delay redevelopment of the remainder of the site or make redevelopment less flexible," staff said.

A neighborhood meeting on the expansion plan drew support but also questions about traffic, parking, landscaping and drainage.

Planning staff isn't fretting much about traffic, at least based on projected vehicle numbers. "Since the proposed uses are expected to generate less than 100 peak-hour trips, a traffic study was not required," staff wrote in its review.

Much of the parking, meanwhile, would be underneath the new buildings, which Cary likes.

As for stormwater runoff, Cary sets a high bar, and the Glenaire expansion would have to clear it. In short, any stormwater-management plan has to limit runoff from new development to pre-development site conditions. That's not the easiest thing to do, because development adds impervious surfaces like rooftops and parking lots. But Glenaire will have to certify that its runoff-control measures will get the job done.

Thursday's Town Council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers at 316 N. Academy St.

More housing on agenda

Also on Thursday, the council will hold a public hearing on a request to rezone 80 acres at Green Level West Road and Pine Rail Lane. The request would clear the way for a mix of homes and townhomes. The maximum number of townhomes would be 90, and the maximum density would be 2.7 dwellings per acre.

Scott Bolejack: 919-829-4629, @ScottBolejack
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