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Quail Hollow Proposes Adding Apartments to Senior Housing Complex in West Lebanon

  • The developers of Quail Hollow Senior Housing have filed plans with the city of Lebanon for a new 40-unit apartment building, including the conceptual rendering shown here. Lincoln Brown Illustration



Valley News Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 14, 2017

West Lebanon — The owner of a senior housing complex in West Lebanon is hoping construction of a 40-unit apartment complex will help ease an ongoing housing shortage in the Upper Valley.

Since the first building at Quail Hollow Senior Living opened about 18 years ago, apartments there have filled quickly, according to John Giebink, who owns the 39-acre development off Route 10 near the Hanover town line.

Every one of the 232 apartments at Quail Hollow are occupied, and a long waiting list continues to grow, he said on Tuesday.

That’s why Giebink and his South Burlington-based company, Summit Property Management Group, are proposing to build the Lake House, a new expansion on Quail Hollow’s campus that would equally be made up of one- and two-bedroom apartments and include a below-building parking garage, according to an application seeking a special exception from Lebanon’s Zoning Board.

Conceptual drawings submitted to the city show the Lake House as a dark blue building located near Quail Hollow’s T-shaped River House, which consists of 114 units on nearly 12 acres of land surrounded by woods and a walking path.

Like Quail Hollow’s three other apartment buildings, the Lake House is designed to help seniors “age in place,” Giebink said.

That means apartments would be equipped with complete kitchens, bathrooms and living/dining rooms. Residents also would have access to Quail Hollow’s other services, such as its salon and barber shop, cafeteria and wellness club, which is staffed by the Lake Sunapee Visiting Nurse Association, according to the application.

“The project will bridge the gap between fully independent living and a nursing home,” the application said.

It’s not yet clear how much residents would be charged for rent in the new building.

Rents at Quail Hollow typically run from $625 for a subsidized one-bedroom unit to $1,555 for market-rate two-bedroom units, according to the company’s website.

Giebink said the need for more development became clear in 2015, when Quail Hollow opened its third building, called the Ridge. Within a month, the 62-unit building was fully leased and had a waiting list, he said.

“All of this information shows just how much of an overwhelming need there is for the ‘correct’ type of senior housing that enables people to age in place,” Giebink said.

The notion of a senior housing shortage isn’t news to Ditha Alonso, executive director of the Lebanon Housing Authority, which manages senior apartments in Lebanon Towers, Rogers House and Lebanon Towers.

There’s a “pretty healthy” waiting list for all three, she said, adding one-bedroom apartments tend to fill the fastest.

“The senior population is growing pretty swiftly so there’s always more room for affordable housing,” Alonso said.

Andrew Winter, the executive director of Twin Pines Housing Trust, said he’s also seen high demand for senior housing. The trust owns 390 apartments throughout the Upper Valley, mostly rented to low- and moderate-income families.

Currently, he said, there’s more than 300 households on waiting lists for those units, including several seniors.

“Nationally, a third of adults age 50 and over, including 37 percent of those age 80 and over, pay more than the recommended 30 percent of their income for housing,” Winter said.

That means there’s a high number of seniors so burdened by mortgage payments that often other necessities go unpaid, he said.

Bob Camarra, 81, admits he’s more fortunate then some living at Quail Hollow. He was able to move into the complex’s River House right after undergoing heart surgery and moving out of his Piermont home two years ago.

“I like it. I lived alone after my wife died,” he said on Tuesday. “It’s a lot more social than my life was before.”

Camarra, a former Vermont and New Hampshire state police trooper, said he feels safe in the facility and has more friends. However, he’s concerned the new facility will ruin the view he now gets of the surrounding woods.

“It’s a big space that’s going to be filled in that’s going to block my view,” Camarra said, adding he might consider moving into the new building.

The building also drew concerns from some Quail Hollow residents who worried it could draw too many people and traffic issues to the development.

“In general, I’d say most of us are concerned there are going to be too many people living here,” said Carolyn Watson, who lives in The Cottages, a group of 50 townhouse-style residences at Quail Hollow.

Her neighbors already have trouble navigating the intersection with Route 10. Turning there can be difficult because of poor sight lines, a high speed limit and hazards such as snow buildup in the winter time, Watson said.

“We have only one road into and out of Quail Hollow to serve all of us, including emergency vehicles. We are also senior drivers who may be challenged trying to turn onto Route 10,” she said. “At present, there is no traffic light, cross walk or any significant signage (on Route 10).”

Giebink said he’s planning on addressing as many issues as possible before the plan goes to the Zoning Board later this winter.

A hearing on the building scheduled for next week was rescheduled to January, he said.

The building is meant to blend in with existing pine trees and likely won’t block any views, Giebink said.

He contested the idea the building will draw too many people. A traffic study found the Lake House would have a minimal effect on the neighborhood, creating 10 new vehicle trips per hour.

Giebink said he also hopes to approach the state Department of Transportation and city to settle some of the traffic issues along Route 10.

If all goes well before the Zoning Board this winter, he said, more detailed plans will then be heard before the Planning Board several months later.

Giebink said he isn’t yet sure when construction would begin.

Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.