Since last summer the Chancey Design Partnership, along with CW Development Partners and Watermark Communities, have been working diligently to answer questions and deal with concerns of residents regarding their proposal to build a CCRC on Marco. CCRC stands for Continuation of Care Retirement Community. It may include “Independent Living,” an “Assisted Living Capability,” as well as “Dementia Care.”
“All of our research shows us that there is a need for this type of facility within this community,” said Walt Chancey, the Managing Partner of Chancey Design Partnership from Tampa, Florida.
The issue as to what we do as we grow older regarding our housing options is one which plays on the minds of many residents as they mature. Some may not wish to maintain a larger residence but may wish to stay in the same community, near friends and relatives.
They may choose to move into an “Independent Living” style of facility; smaller than their home but providing them with an active lifestyle, with options as they continue to age. Many of those can be found in the Collier County area, but none on Marco Island.
Those individuals may be excellent candidates to move gracefully into an “Assisted Living” type of environment where more services are offered and available, as one or both need those additional amenities, while staying within the same campus.
The Chancey group is proposing to purchase a five-acre plot of land that is presently owned by the Naples Community Hospital as part of a larger 11.4 acres of land at the intersection of Bald Eagle Drive and San Marco Road. The two properties would then be merged to create a Planned Unit Development (PUD) to facilitate this project, providing the developer with more flexibility as to what he can do with that property.
Some of these similar facilities can be found throughout the Lee and Collier County areas. Some are larger and some smaller, which has become an issue of contention regarding this proposed project, which some have deemed to be a “mega” ALF. Some vary in size from 1978 beds at Shell Point in Fort Myers to 150 beds at Tuscany Villas of Naples on the East Trail. They do, however, vary in the provisions for the differing levels of service.
Discovery Village, as well as Terracina Grand, both in Naples, offer all three levels of service and have 217 and 227 beds respectively.
Funds from Purchase to be Reinvested in NCH Facilities on Marco
The funds from the purchase of the five acres would be utilized by NCH to build a new Urgent Care Center on the portion of the property which would stay under their ownership. The other existing building, which presently houses physician and rehabilitation offices, would also remain as part of their ownership. No indication at this time as to whether the Urgent Care Facility would be open on a 24 hour/7 day a week basis.
That entire plot of land was initially designated by the Deltona Corporation to house a medical/hospital facility to service island residents and was donated as such.
The existing Urgent Care Facility, which is today operated by NCH, was built and equipped through fundraising efforts by island residents. A plaque recognizing that committee can be found to the left of the front entry doors of the present Urgent Care.
Original Plans Downsized
The Chancey group had initially presented plans to construct a four story, 50-foot-high building, that had 206 units. The facility would vary between two bedroom and single bedroom units. The number of those units would be split between Independent, Assisted Living and a small number of Memory Care units, which could vary between 300 square feet and 1,600 square feet.
To satisfy the community concerns, the developer has proposed bringing the total height of the buildings down to 40 feet and only three floors. They would also limit the number of units to a total of 166 units and beds to not exceed a total of 220. Their present plans show 71 of the larger Independent Living Units, 68 of the Assisted Living Units and 29 of the Memory Care Units.
There would be no skilled nursing care offered as part of those services being provided at the Marco facility. Only LPNs and Certified Nursing Assistance would be on staff. One LPN would be assigned to each eight-hour shift.
Watermark Communities, who would manage the facility if built, manages 52 such communities in 21 states across the country. Not all of them include memory care offerings, but almost all have Assisted and Independent Living offerings. The closest such development is The Fountains at Lake Pointe Woods in Sarasota.
Heated Debate Grows as Does Support
Both the pros and cons continue to grow regarding the development. Some of the opposition deals with the density it will bring to the center of the island; increased traffic, service needs and the fears of alternate uses of the facility should it not meet its projected economic projections. Some of those objections have been addressed in newer presentations, including caveats which would prevent uses for treatment of drug and alcohol addiction, but questions remain.
Two other areas of concern lie with the strain it may put on city services, such as Fire and EMS. In addition to that concern, there is an issue regarding evacuation of the facility should another hurricane threaten Marco, a “barrier island” susceptible to flooding during severe weather events.
Chancey and his group have attempted to address those two issues during Planning Board hearings.
One area left to be discussed regarding the PUD lies in the future development of the other 6.4 acres, that could see further development for offices and treatment facilities by NCH; development like NCH’s North Naples Campus, along with the impact that might have on traffic flows.
The Chancey group have attempted to quell fears of neighbors by proposing to double the amount of landscape buffering on the areas abutting the project.
Signs have sprung up around the island in opposition to the project, as well as meetings with the developer which are focused on supporting the project and its positive contribution to the island.
Marco Island City Council will take up the issue at its January 22, 2019 meeting. The meeting will be held in council chambers at 51 Bald Eagle Drive and will begin at 5:30 PM.
Rumors vs. Facts
Proposed PUD for the NCH Campus & Watermark Assisted Living
Rumor: The ALF will be a “Mega” Size Facility.
Fact: The ALF is average in size for its type and smaller than many of its Naples competitors.
The Watermark at Marco Island is an average size newer concept of the “Micro CCRC” Continuum of Care Facility. It offers in one building 29 memory care units, 68 typical sized assisted living units and 71 larger, more independent living units with a maximum bed count of 210 beds.
Rumor: There are not enough seniors on Marco and ALF residents will be coming from Naples.
Fact: The need for Marco seniors is huge and will fill with Marco residents.
The independent market study by Integra Realty Services shows the Primary Market Area (PMA) to be a five-mile radius from the site (covers all Marco and up to the Marco Executive Airport) and illustrates the huge demand for all levels of senior services this facility will provide. The market study indicates that there is a demand for approximately 744 beds for Marco residents in Memory Care, Assisted Living and Independent Living and 362 beds even if you deduct the independent. The demand from seniors for this facility is local. Naples residents have many options closer to their homes with similar offerings and marketing shows that the primary market for assisted living in almost always five miles from the facility.
Rumor: The PUD is speculative and does not meet the Comprehensive Plan.
Fact: The PUD is definitive and complete in its application and was determined (twice) by the Planning Board to be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.
The PUD is a joint application with NCH and The Watermark ALF. The submitted application meets or exceeds all requirements of submittal for a PUD. The Land Development Code spells out what is needed, and the level of detail needed in a PUD application. It calls for the uses to be defined and the number of buildings, maximum size of the buildings, setbacks, open space and parking requirements are all spelled out in the PUD. The staff report on the project made an assertion that the PUD was speculative, but in a recent meeting, City staff clarified that the uses are not speculative, that they believed only that the renderings and the architectural design of the future buildings were speculative. The applicant has submitted renderings of the ALF facility and the architectural concept. The uses are defined, and maximums clearly in the PUD. Designing a building that may be less in size or height is not needed until the site development plan is submitted, and those designs must follow the City’s Architectural codes and standards.
Rumor: An ALF has no place on a barrier island.
Fact: An ALF provides speedy and safe hurricane evacuation.
A senior who has spent years on Marco Island should have the right to age in place with dignity where he or she calls home. Some oppose an ALF on a barrier island because of concerns regarding hurricane evacuation. A professionally run assisted living facility will evacuate senior residents faster and safer, because the ALF license requires an Emergency Management Plan for each facility to receive its operational license from the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration. This license must be approved by the Collier County Emergency Management Department and by the local Fire Marshall. The plan is reviewed and approved annually.
The Evacuation Plan must include:
- A contract with an established transportation (motor coach) company that is paid a retainer every year even if no buses are ever called for any evacuation.
- A contract with multiple receiving locations for the residents such as hotels or other senior care facilities (six related facilities in Sarasota, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Seminole Counties can easily handle evacuees).
- A contract with purveyors to sustain evacuees’ feeding and needs as long as it may take before returning to Marco Island.
Watermarks’ plans evacuate 72 hours prior to the expected landfall of a hurricane. Usually the call is made, and evacuation is complete 60 hours prior to landfall. In this case, approximately five to six buses will professionally evacuate the Watermark residents.
Rumor: EMS calls will be increased with the opening of an ALF on Marco.
Fact: EMS calls will actually be reduced!
The Assisted Living will help decrease the number of 911 calls and EMS services on Marco. When elderly people live in their homes, they call 911 when they fall or have minor medical episodes. When those residents move to an Assisted Living community, the instances of 911 calls decrease dramatically, because of the professional staff and 24-hour nursing care on site.
Rumor: Increased traffic from the development will substantially impact the area.
Fact: The increased traffic generated will not change the existing levels of service or change existing roadway conditions.
A Traffic Impact Statement (TIS) was required with the submittal information to the City of Marco Island. The TIS states that at full build-out of the PUD there is no adverse impact on levels of service, which is the analysis required under the City’s codes. It was determined that the existing and future roadway conditions are to remain the same. The TIS looked at the PUD at build out. Surrounding roadway links will operate at satisfactory levels of service with or without the project.
The ALF expects about half of the 71“more independent” units to have a car (or around 35 resident automobiles). Watermark will have 37 staff members on a day shift when the facility is full, 26 on the evening shift and 11 at night. The balance of required parking will be for visitors. Overall an ALF generates fewer trips than a typical residential dwelling unit. Further, vendor delivery times such as food deliveries are scheduled to miss the peak traffic times.