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Boca Raton residents pushback against proposed assisted living facility

600 people sign petition opposing project
Sign opposing assisted living center facility in Boca Raton
Posted at 3:31 PM, Feb 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-03 17:30:59-05

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Many people in a Boca Raton neighborhood are upset about a proposed project for the elderly.

Opposition is already growing, including a petition with 600 signatures, despite a public hearing being months away and no decision being made.

The project is a three-story assisted living facility, which would stand on the property of the Center for Spiritual Living on SW Twelve Avenue.

Boca Square resident Holli Sutton said creating an assisted living facility in her neighborhood just doesn't make sense.

Holli Sutton, Boca Raton resident opposed to assisted living facility
Holli Sutton shares why the proposed center will have a negative impact on the community.

"It's going to change everything, I mean the whole feel of the neighborhood," Sutton said. "I'm at a loss for words."

She has lived here for six years and says what makes the property — specifically its parking lot — so special is that parents can park and walk their kids to and from Addison Mizner Elementary school, located just three blocks away.

"Friendships that the children make just on the short walk to school will be gone," Sutton said.

She believes the assisted living facility will take away the community atmosphere, something many residents agree with.

"We don't need it. There is an assisted living facility a mile down the road," Sutton said.

She's talking about The Atrium — another assisted living facility that is less than five minutes away.

But developer Jay Whelchel said the demand shows assisted living facilities are needed.

Jay Whelchel, developer
Jay Whelchel discusses why the site of the proposed facility will benefit the community.

"Right now we're 1,000 beds short. Ten years from now, we're gonna be 2,000 short," Whelchel said.

As far as traffic concerns, Whelchel said that won't be an issue.

"It's not a high traffic demand," he said. "The residents don't have cars so all that we're really focused on is the staff and visitors."

But for him, its the convenience of having the elderly right in the heart of a neighborhood

"They are an integral part of our family dynamic," Whelchel said. "The closer they are to the nuclear house, the better it is for the entire extended family."

The city has not scheduled any public hearings anytime soon on the project.

City council members said it can be months before they vote on the facility.