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Senior housing causes stir in Folsom

By: Penne Usher, Telegraph Correspondent
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FOLSOM, CA - A proposed senior apartment complex in the Empire Ranch area of Folsom is only in its infancy, but is already creating a stir.

The Serenade Senior Apartments is a 218-unit, three story affordable senior housing complex to be built on the northwest corner near Golf Link Road. Some have voiced concern over the potential for an increase in noise, traffic and crime.

“This structure would destroy our neighborhood by bringing in noise, traffic, loss in safety, loss in our property values, and would be an enormous eye-sore,” wrote Elvia Gonzales-Triki in a letter to the developer and copied to the Telegraph. “We are a happy residential area, full of single-family homes, and are against this enormous development!”

Scott Johnson, planning manager for the City of Folsom, said the city is still reviewing the plans.

“We understand the concerns of the community and are reviewing it at this point,” he said.

Gonzales-Triki is disturbed by the planned height of the apartment building.

“My property is located at a lower base-line. We would have our entire eastern visual view blocked,” she wrote. “Since our house sits 10 feet below, we will be looking at a building that is 50 (feet) high from our elevation.”

The proposed complex stands about 39-and-a-half feet high, four-and-a-half feet taller than a two-story home. The site is “somewhat depressed,” meaning it sits about 10 feet below street grade.

Residents would have to meet the age requirement of 55 and rents would be based on income.

“We are required to provide housing for all age groups,” Johnson said. “We have an aging population and need to accommodate that. The need for senior affordable living is needed.”

The site is zoned commercial but in this case rezoning is not necessary, Johnson said.

“The specific plan allows for multi-family use with a use permit,” he said. “(The developers) have requested a use permit. We are evaluating to see if an affordable senior project is appropriate for this area.”

Johnson said if a commercial building were to be built on the seven-acre site, rather than the apartment building, the potential for increased traffic and noise would be far greater.

Gonzalez-Triki would prefer to see something be built that is more in tune with the neighborhood.

“We know eventually something will go there but it needs to be more appropriate for our neighborhood,” she wrote. “Cramming such a large population into only seven acres is too much.”