Plans for a senior housing facility at the corner of Maxtown and North Spring roads have changed.

Plans for a senior housing facility at the corner of Maxtown and North Spring roads have changed.

In late 2008, the Westerville Planning Commission approved a final development plan for the site that included a three-story building with a mix of independent-living, assisted-assisted living and "memory-care" units.

The plan also called for a one-story skilled-nursing facility to be built as Phase II of the project.

Construction has begun on the three-story facility, dubbed Parkside Village, but the developer returned to the Westerville Planning Commission June 22, asking for re-approval of the final development plan, changing the one-story skilled-nursing facility to a three-story independent-living facility.

The original one-story unit would have been 47,000 square feet, and would have had 100 units and between 75 and 100 employees.

The planned three-story facility will be 32,800 square feet with 62 units and one to two employees.

The change was approved by a 7-0 vote.

Skip Eberly of Principle Realty Group said the developer chose to repurpose the plan after the state changed reimbursements to Medicare and Medicaid, a change he said he believes makes providing skilled nursing not financially feasible.

Eberly said the new development, to be dubbed Springwood Senior Living Community, would be marketed to seniors who don't want to go to an assisted-living facility but who may eventually need to.

If they hit a point where assisted-living is needed, he said, they can be moved to Parkside Village. The memory-care unit also can provide some of the same types of care that skilled nursing would, he said.

Also at the June 22 planning meeting, planning commission members approved a conditional use permit to allow a credit union with a drive-through to move into an existing building at 501 W. Schrock Road.

All drive-throughs in Westerville are required to obtain conditional use permits, city planner Lisa LaMantia said.

"This site has been used as a bank with drive-through in the past. We're unaware of any problems with the drive-through," LaMantia told the commission.

Education First Credit Union plans to relocate its corporate offices to Westerville. The credit union initially will occupy 8,000 square feet of the building's fourth floor, with plans to expand to occupy 14,000 square feet on the first floor.

The planning commission also gaveits approval for a wall sign to be placed above the building's third story.

Generally, city code does not allow for such signs outside of the Westar development, and then they must be placed at the top of the buildings. However, LaMantia said, the city staff supported the sign in this case because the building is one of the few in Westerville outside of Westar that is four stories high, and the architecture of the building doesn't allow for a wall sign to be placed at the top.

"Most of the buildings outside of Westar are not this tall. This is one of the few exceptions," LaMantia said.

In 2003, the planning commission denied a request for a similar sign to Sky Bank when it occupied the building because it was using only 9,000 square feet of the 60,000-square-foot building; commission members said it did not make sense for the bank to have a wall sign when it wasn't the primary occupant.

However, planning commission members said June 22 that they were fine approving the sign for a tenant that didn't occupy the majority of the building as long as the building's owner acknowledged that it would be the only wall sign permitted.

"I really don't have a problem with any size tenant taking the main signage of the building, as long as the owner of the building is well aware that that's it," commission member Brian Szuch said. "If someone comes in and takes the remainder of the building, they don't get signage on the outside of the building."