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Plan for assisted-living facility opposed

| Tuesday, June 3, 2003

Residents who live near one of the last wooded areas along Route 19 in the south suburbs once again are objecting to a plan to develop it.

Sunrise Senior Living wants to build a $10 million assisted-living center that looks like a Victorian mansion at the corner of Route 19 and Village Drive, across from South Hills Village mall.

But some residents criticized the plan Monday night at a meeting where commissioners considered approval of the facility that would feature 76 residential units on three stories. The planning commission approved the plans in April.

"I wouldn't put my mother or father there," Heidi Cohen, a resident of Lindenwood Drive, said after the meeting.

Cohen said the area is too congested and busy for an assisted-living facility.

This first public hearing is continued until July 7, when the board could take action on the plans, said Matt Serakowski, director of community planning.

A Sunrise facility was proposed on the land in July 2001, but Sunrise officials withdrew the plans three months later, citing financial reasons.

The current plans are the same as in 2001, Serakowski said.

Lawrence and Mary Ann Gessner still own the 3.1 acres, zoned low-intensity residential.

The site was controversial almost 10 years ago.

Residents strongly objected to a plan to build an office center on the land, which would have featured a Magee-Womens Hospital health center. They said they wanted to keep the area in its natural state.

Tim Murphy, who later became a state senator and now is a congressman, led the 1994 campaign that ended with the commissioners rejecting the developer's request to rezone the site to a special business district.

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