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Posted on Tue, May 8, 2012 : 8 a.m.

Assisted living development wins Saline City Council approval

By Lisa Allmendinger

A Grand Haven company won approval Monday night for a 112-unit senior housing facility in Saline.

The Saline City Council gave Reenders, Inc. unanimous approval for a special land use Monday night for about 7 acres of property.

The company plans to build the facility on land on the southwest corner of Woodland Drive and Maple Road, near the UAW Hall and Saline Middle School. The city’s Senior Center is also close by.

The company and Saline Area schools sought the special land use permit.

Last year, the school district approved a purchase agreement with the company. The schools have owned the property for about 40 years, and approved the $550,000 purchase agreement with the developer, but it contained several contingencies, including a rezoning of the property, which is currently a soccer field.

The city's Planning Commission gave preliminary site plan and special land use approval on April 27, with the condition that the company get the approval of the Zoning Board of Appeals for several variances to build the facility of about 51,500 square feet.

Planning consultant Doug Lewan of Carlisle Wortman Assoc. Inc. said that the company was “seeking a variance to allow room areas that are less than the minimum” areas in the city’s code, something that has been granted for other senior living facilities.

“Because this development includes more of a ‘room’ concept, which does not include a kitchen, this development is more similar to convalescent or institutional rooms,” he said in a report for the Planning Commission.

The project is proposed to be a two-phase build-out with 57 units in the first phase adjacent to Maple Road and a 55-unit second phase attached in a U shape and built directly west of the first phase.

Access to the site is proposed off Woodland Drive and Lewan said the project “clearly meets the city’s Master Plan.” Tim Higgins, a representative from Reenders, said the company hoped to have the financing wrapped up in July and begin construction in mid-summer.

He said the company planned to keep the development “as residential looking as possible.”

Saline resident Mary Hess questioned the number of parking spaces that were planned for the development, and Higgins said that most of the residents who will live there don’t drive. A total of 63 parking spaces are proposed, one less space than is required by the city's regulations.

Reenders Inc. is a family-owned company founded in 1946. Higgins said the company has built 15 assisted living developments.

Linda TerHaar was absent from the meeting.

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Lisa Allmendinger is a regional reporter for She can be reached at For more Saline stories, visit our Saline page.



Tue, May 8, 2012 : 7:28 p.m.

What a nightmare this will be. Take a close look at the traffic pattern on both Woodland and Maple during school hours, and craft days, etc. Adding to this will mean the roads will need to widen....bad news. Not to mention the "UAW land" that's for sale is for single family homes. We're creating a cluster at the corner that is so peaceful now. Just bad decisions for a very small amount of money!

Thinking over here

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 3:36 p.m.

1. does that mean losing the soccer field space? 2. Need MORE parking - yes, most of the people there don't drive- but the people who come to visit them (because the resident can't drive to go visit others) need places to park. (Look at BRookfield senior living on ANn Arbor-Saline (formerly Sunrise) and see how the cars park all over because there aren't enough spaces..