Hesperia Council Suspends General Plan & Main Street Specific Plan To Approve Senior Apartments

The Hesperia City Council has suspended both the city’s general plan and its Main Street and Freeway Corridor Specific Plan in approving Apollo Construction’s mixed use senior living hamlet on the north side of Main Street.
The project represents what is perhaps the City of Progress’s most significant departure from the traditional character of residential projects in the city, including those built prior to and since Hesperia’s 1988 incorporation
According to a staff report on the project authored by Dave Reno and Stan Liudahl, the city’s principal planner and senior planner, respectively, “This project is unique inasmuch that it will provide a complete adult senior living community, enabling residents to obtain many needed services without leaving the development. The project is designed to provide meals, exercise and recreational facilities, medical care, and hair care for those residing within the condominiums and assisted living facilities and those seniors visiting the daycare center. The project requires approval of a planned development, as the Neighbor-
hood Commercial and Medium Density Residential zones of the Main Street and Freeway Corridor Specific Plan do not allow the proposed intensity of nonresidential development nor the proposed parking reductions that this unique combination of senior-oriented uses may obtain.”
Reno and Liudahl suggested that many of the older set living on the premises will not own or drive vehicles.
“The planned development provides regulation specific to the special needs of this senior development and takes into account the associated relationships between the uses, reducing the number of parking spaces required for this development,” the report states.
Even though councilman Eric Schmidt joined with his colleagues in unanimously approving the project, he said he was doing so reluctantly because granting the deviations from the city’s general plan and okaying the changes from the specific plan for Main Street may inspire problematic proposals from other developers or project applicants that might not adhere to the city’s state standards in the future.
The ten-acre project is to be sited on the north side of Main Street some 250 feet east of the California Aqueduct and will entail an 84-condominium facility, a 131-unit assisted living building and a 300-person adult day care center contained within 6.6 acres on the north portion of the property. The 3.4 acres at the south end of the property closest to Main Street is zoned Neighborhood Commercial.
According to Reno and Liudahl, “While the current zoning allows the proposed senior condominiums, the assisted living facility, an institutional use allowed in any zone, hair salon, restaurant and dining facilities, and medical offices with approval of a site plan review, the adult daycare and on-site sale of beer and wine requires approval of a conditional use permit.
A pad for a 4,000-square-foot retail building is included in the plan.
The condominium floor plan includes one- and two-bedroom options, along with studio apartments. The dwelling units range from 438 to 938 square feet.
The assisted living floor plan includes three studios and one-bedroom options, ranging from 398 to 590 square feet. The adult day care center includes a spa, wellness center, multiple senior-oriented services, kitchen and dining facilities, with the sale of beer and wine.
Though Hesperia does not have a minimum half-acre lot size requirement for single family residences as does Apple Valley, most residential properties in the city have lots that are larger than those in vogue in the more citified areas of the county, such as in Chino Hills, Chino, Montclair, Ontario, Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Rialto, Colton, Grand Terrace, Loma Linda, Highland, Redlands and even Yucaipa. Thus, cramming 211 units onto roughly 4.5 acres on the north end of the project represents a density nearly ten times that on other residential properties in Hesperia.
The city council deemed this radical deviation from the norm – entailing this density intensification – to be a justifiable trade-off in terms of providing residential opportunities for senior citizens living at or below the poverty level. To purchase a condominium or rent a unit in the assisted living building, one must be 55 or older.
The adult daycare facility and the medical offices will be constructed within phase III of the project. The daycare facility will be limited to a maximum of 300 senior citizens. These senior citizens will be able to use the dining room as well as all of the senior-oriented uses. Three medical offices totaling 11.200 square feet will be constructed above the daycare facility. It is intended that the medical units will serve the needs of the residents and visitors of the daycare. However, the medical units will be leased on a first-come basis and may serve non-seniors. Phase IV will allow construction of a 4,000 square foot retail building.

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