Olentangy Valley News

City officials pleased with dementia-care facility plans

Powell council to decide if Sawmill Parkway center will be built after planning commission's approval

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Powell's Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved plans last week for a care facility for Alzheimer's disease and dementia patients.

Developer Ganzhorn Suites has proposed building a 64-unit facility on 5.1 acres off Sawmill Parkway, just southwest of the road's intersection with Presidential Parkway. The commission approved the development's preliminary and final development plans at its June 11 meeting.

"Really, the dream and the vision of Ganzhorn Suites is to bring to Powell an assisted-living (facility) dedicated to memory and Alzheimer's care for people with mid- to late-stage dementia," said Barmi Akbar, chief financial officer for Ganzhorn Suites.

Commission members were unanimously supportive of the developer's vision for the facility, which would have four wings, or "households." Each wing would represent a different level of care for a different stage of dementia.

Akbar has said the company will invest millions in the latest technology and keep high staffing levels to ensure the residents would stay safe and on the premises. He said he did not expect the facility to put a great strain on first responders because the highly trained staff could handle most incidents that were not medical emergencies.

Akbar said the firm also worked with its architects and city officials to make sure the development would not look out of place in Powell.

"We tried to incorporate various architectural elements of the area, the community," he said.

Commission member Joe Jester said he thought Ganz-horn's proposal met a need in Powell.

"I think this is an excellent presentation of a high-quality project," he said to Ganzhorn's representatives.

Other commissioners agreed Powell needed a memory-care facility so its residents would not need to leave the community if they were afflicted with Alzheimer's disease or dementia.

One person who did have concerns about the development was Stephan Guth, who lives in the condominium complex just west of the project's site.

"Our concern is for privacy, for headlight penetration of cars coming in off of Presidential Parkway," he said.

Guth added he had no complaints about the planned use for the development or its architecture.

Akbar said he would be happy to meet with any of the site's neighbors who have concerns and, hopefully, come to an agreeable solution to any issues.

Rocky Kambo, planner for the city of Powell, said the Ganzhorn site fit neatly into an unplanned "medical corridor" on Sawmill Parkway in Powell. The stretch of road also is home to Mount Carmel Medical Group facilities and a future senior apartment complex that will be developed by Spectrum Retirement Communities.

"We could only hope for something like this to happen," Kambo said.

Now that Ganzhorn has the Planning and Zoning Commission's OK, it will go before Powell City Council for final approval.

Ganzhorn has estimated the workers would be able to build the facility in nine months after the company receives that approval.

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