Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bellevue P&Z approves senior-care annexation

Safe Haven Health Care proposal now heads to City Council


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

This preliminary rendering shows the concept for the planned Safe Haven senior-care facility in Bellevue. Courtesy graphic

12-07-25safehavenrendering.jpgBellevue could soon be home to an 85-bed senior-care facility, a development that supporters say could keep elders in town rather than sending them many miles to the south to get the care they need.

The Bellevue Planing and Zoning Commission voted unanimously Thursday, July 19, to recommend approval of annexation of 9.5 acres of land north of town for a skilled-nursing and assisted-living facility that would be built, owned and operated by Safe Haven Health Care.

"There is a huge need for this," said Bellevue resident Lisa Phillips. "This is an idea whose time has come."

Phillips and other Bellevue residents at the meeting spoke of the heartache and frustration of having to move loved ones to Wendell, Burley and Twin Falls for geriatric care because ample facilities in the Wood River Valley do not exist.

"My mother had to travel out of the county several times," said Ruth Dey. "I wonder what's going to happen to me."

Safe Haven already owns and operates a 10-bed assisted-living facility seven blocks from the proposed new building, with plans to expand to 12 beds.

The new facility, if approved by the City Council, would be on property that spans the city limits, including land proposed for annexation.

The 64-room building would be served by 51 parking spaces and would hook up to water and sewer lines already in place within the city. The main entrance to the proposed new facility would be on the corner of Spruce and Sixth streets.

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At the meeting, Safe Haven Health Care CEO Scott Burpee and Galena Engineering spokesman Jeff Loomis presented plans for the proposed new 48,000-square-foot facility, which includes 16 private skilled-nursing units, 24 semi-private skilled-nursing units and 30 units of assisted living.

Assisted-living services at the facility would include several studio apartments for low-income seniors as well as more spacious units. A sky-lighted food court and commons area is also part of the design.

The facility would also include a 10-bed secured dementia unit, which Burpee said would be necessary to serve the community.

"Half of the people in our Pocatello facility have those needs," Burpee said.

Burpee said recently in an interview that Safe Haven employs 500 people statewide at 10 assisted-living facilities, one skilled-nursing facility and one psychiatric hospital in Pocatello. He said the Bellevue facility would need 100 employees.

Bellevue resident Florence Blanchard asked P&Z members if there were any ways to ensure that Burpee would maintain a high-quality operation at the proposed new facility,

Commission Chair Laira Thomas said it was not the duty of the P&Z to ask such questions.

"That's something you should bring up with Scott Burpee or the City Council," she said.

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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