Since announcing its proposed development, Isakson Living has listened and responded to community concerns about its proposal. Isakson Living has made numerous changes to its proposal, which have:
- Reduced the number of homes by 24%
- Reduced heights of over 50% of the building to 3 stories or less
- Increased buffers with adjoining neighborhoods
- Preserved over 24-acres (45% of the total site) as undisturbed green space
- Incorporated cottages
- And committed to expanding East Cobb Park by donating 9.5 acres to the county.
Isakson Living has acted in good faith and with respect to neighbors of the proposed development. Every attempt has been made to address those concerns while still maintaining the integrity of the proposed development. Unfortunately, Isakson Living’s proposal continues to be misrepresented by misleading accusations about the proposed project. The following are responses to some of the more common misrepresentations.
SENIOR CARE TOPICS
Concern: According to the CCRC code of Cobb County adopted in 2008, the property is located too far from a hospital.
Response: The CCRC Code specifically states a “CCRC must be within 5 miles of an acute medical care center, unless the facility provides its own emergency response to all residents.”
Isakson Living’s proposed community will provide emergency response to its residents. First responders include an LPN along with a security officer. More qualified healthcare personnel are also available on-site including a physician and nurse practitioner.
Concern: There are affordability issues with the proposed CCRC and the average retirement income for Cobb citizens.
Response: Market research shows that there are more than 20,000 residents over age 75 with annual incomes of $50,000 or more within the market area. Median home values within this area range from $250,000 – $350,000. Approximately 60% of those who are likely to live at the proposed community reside within this market area.
Entrance fees are based on costs to develop and construct the community and monthly fees are based on costs to operate and maintain the community. In order to insure these fees remain affordable to a majority of those who may reside at the community, they need to be kept in a range consistent with home values and incomes of those over age 75 who reside in the market area. Isakson Living has proposed entrance fees that range from approximately $175,000 – $450,000, and monthly service fees that will average approximately $2,550 ($2,000 – $4,000).
While costs associated with living at Isakson Living’s proposed community are not the only living expenses residents have, they cover a majority of the monthly expenses of most residents. On average, someone with a retirement income of $50,000 and a home value of $300,000 can afford to live at the proposed community.
While density or the number of homes has been a point of criticism for some, the number of homes directly correlates to affordability. Costs to buy the property develop the land and build homes and common areas need to be shared by a certain number of residents in order to keep entrance fees in line with existing home values. Costs to operate and maintain the community as well as service the residents also need to be shared by a certain number to ensure monthly fees remain in line with senior’s income.
Concern: According to national CCRC standards and even in comparison with Isakson Living Park Springs, the proposal’s ratio of assisted living units (11%) to independent units (89%) is too low.
Response: The number of health care units is actuarially based upon, and takes into account, changes to the delivery of health services and increased independence of residents at the developers’ existing communities. Nationally the industry is evolving. In fact, communities built in the past were more heavily focused on healthcare. Today more residents of a CCRC are able to remain independent longer, and fewer require long-term care. Regulation limiting access to healthcare for those who do not already reside at a CCRC is also reducing the number of units a CCRC is able to offer.
Concern: According to the CCRC code Cobb County adopted in 2008, a full three years is allowed until the on-site nursing care is required.
Response: The need for healthcare grows as a CCRC matures. Fewer initial residents have an immediate need for care and it takes time for a community to reach capacity. Allowing communities flexibility in establishing health care facilities limits any undue financial burden that may be created by having to build maintain and staff a facility that might not otherwise be needed in the early stages of a development.
That being said, Isakson Living’s experience in the business indicates that ensuring prospective residents that healthcare will be offered when they need it is a key component to the successful marketing efforts of a community. Isakson Living plans to open its health center along with the first phase of independent residences well within the three-year requirement; ensuring residents that healthcare will be available.
This is the 2nd in a series of posts addressing the concerns of the proposed Isakson Living East Cobb community.