Press Release

Phoenix Neighbors Rally Behind Proposed St. Joseph’s Senior Living Compromise: Gains Councilwoman Debra Stark’s Support

Phoenix, Arizona Sep 5, 2023 ( – Residents opposing a rezone bid by St. Joseph’s Catholic Church to build a large-scale senior care facility near 41st Street and Desert Cove have put forth a compromise with a statement of support from Phoenix District 3 Councilwoman Debra Stark

The compromise follows a year of contentious debate as neighbors, rejecting the R3 rezoning that would have allowed for a St. Joesph’s high-density, multi-story, 130-bed senior living facility directly adjacent to an established residential neighborhood, mounted the campaign garnering over 750 opposition signatures of impacted neighbors. The compromise promotes a single-story, fewer-bed option similar to other senior facilities in the area.

“Councilwoman Stark supports a St. Joseph’s senior living facility compromise that could accommodate a one-story with fewer beds and potentially a PUD [Planned Urban Development] rezoning. She mentions that stakeholders may wish to view the newer senior facility, Shadow Mountain Memory Care, in Council District 3, which is a single story, 72 beds and PUD zoned for possible insights,” Councilwoman Stark’s office stated.

“What the Church originally wanted with the R3 rezone means a 500 percent increase in housing density in our residential neighborhood of modest homes,” voiced long-time resident Susan Weinhold. “This new compromise can benefit all without diminishing our home values and quality of life.”

Echoed neighbor Hiam Yani, “A year ago we told the Church and developer Shea Connelly Development that neighbors would support a smaller build, but not the two-story, 130 bed they wanted. The developer stated decreasing the size was not economically feasible. Today we know this smaller, for-profit senior facility model is thriving in our neighborhood and financially viable.”

“We mobilized quickly to find alternative solutions that were rejected by the Church and developer,” stated Jason Hamlin. “This compromise represents hundreds of hours of research and meetings by our steering committee made up of talented architects, urban planners, finance and business development professionals, faith leaders, builders, attorneys, and first responders in our own backyard. Smaller, single-story senior care centers exist throughout the state and have been operating successfully for decades.

“The neighbors never had an issue with a senior center, just not the huge size they wanted,” reminded Brittney Kraeer. “We’d welcome a single-story, 60-bed facility with wide, tree-lined setbacks like Shea Mountain Memory Care down the road. That appears thoughtfully planned out with neighborhood integration as a goal, not an afterthought.”

“Some people say that the heart of democracy is empathy,” summarized Janet Baghdasarian. “In this case, empathy and listening with an open heart and mind can go a long way in illuminating a path toward a peaceful middle ground that benefits many and not a few. I pray we agree on that path going forward as the unified community we once were.”

St. Joesph’s Church and the Phoenix Catholic Diocese have not returned requests for comment.

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This article was originally published by IssueWire. Read the original article here.

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