Oakmont Senior Living has proposed an 82-unit apartment complex for tenants 55 and up on the same Fountaingrove land where the developer attempted to build a senior care facility, only to cancel the project last year after it was challenged.
The revived Emerald Isle project would place seven buildings with two-bedroom apartments on 12.5 acres nestled along the back nine holes of the Fountaingrove Club.
The site, located at the end of Gullane Drive, is less than a mile away from Villa Capri, an Oakmont Senior Living facility that burned down during the October 2017 fires. The proposal will offer another test of Santa Rosa’s desire to spur new housing and revive burned areas against the risk of allowing building in a fire-prone zone.
Initially, Oakmont planned to build its fifth Fountaingrove senior care center on the site, submitting a proposal in the summer of 2016 for housing up to 70 seniors. The project was approved by the Santa Rosa Planning Commission in late 2017 and the Design Review Board in early 2018, but it was challenged in March by two women who were suing Oakmont Senior Living alleging it failed to evacuate their mother at Villa Capri during the fires.
Oakmont dropped the Emerald Isle project last September before the City Council could decide the appeal.
Oakmont Senior Living, a company owned by longtime Sonoma County developer Bill Gallaher, has scheduled a meeting to answer questions about the project for 6 p.m. Wednesday at 637 First St., according to a public notice. Andrew Trippel, a city planner, said the neighborhood meeting was required by zoning code. The Emerald Isle project also would need three different permits involving public hearings, Trippel said.
Emerald Isle’s reinvention follows the company’s November admission that staffers at Villa Capri and a second Fountaingrove senior living facility, Varenna, abandoned vulnerable elderly residents during the Tubbs fire in October 2017. After settling with state regulators, Oakmont and two of its top administrators are allowed to continue operating senior care homes if they comply with numerous conditions intended to promote resident safety.
The new Emerald Isle concept would include seven residential buildings, another building featuring a leasing office and two apartments, garages, a recreation center and a swimming pool with a spa and fire pit, according to city documents.
Oakmont also proposes to retain “a good percentage of the oak trees that survived the fire.”
It was unclear why Oakmont is seeking to reinvent Emerald Isle as an age-restricted apartment complex.
The company’s liaison for the project, Steve McCullagh, did not respond to multiple messages seeking comment.
You can reach Staff Writer Will Schmitt at 707-521-5207 or email@example.com. On Twitter @wsreports.