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Emmanuel plan sent back to drawing board

Emmanuel Community plans to expand again. But it will have to come up with a way to create less impervious surface if it wants to add on.

Plans consist of a 16-unit memory care and advanced assisted living facility, with three private respite suites, which will be located off the existing facility between the south side of the building and the Northshore Townhomes.

It will also expand the area for adult day services and the existing kitchen. Meeting rooms will also be added.

"There's a need in the community and within our campus," Emmanuel's Steve Przybilla said about the addition. "And requests from families."

Przybilla appeared before the Detroit Lakes Planning Commission Thursday evening to ask for a variance to exceed the impervious surface coverage. He said the Pelican River Watershed District is involved in the process, and when the project is complete, the water run-off will actually improve.

City ordinance states no more than 25 percent of a lot should be impervious, or surface that won't allow water to seep through. Emmanuel Community -- which includes The Madison, Lamplighter and the nursing home -- already sits at 44 percent.

Emmanuel asked to exceed that to 46 percent. Two percent sits in the shoreland district, which has stricter restrictions.

Przybilla said there is no stormwater run-off plan now, so Emmanuel would actually be helping the area.

Planning Commission member Ginny Imholte questioned what impact the addition would have on parking, since the addition will be taking some of the parking spaces in the employee parking lot. Przybilla said the parking would be moved to the north side of the building.

Planning commission chair and city council alderman GL Tucker said he wasn't comfortable with so much impervious surface, especially in the shoreland district.

"It's a good plan, but you have a lot of options to keep impervious at 44 percent," he said. "You've got a number way above 25 (percent impervious) that we're sticking everyone else with."

It was suggested that Emmanuel pave a driveway or parking lot with pervious pavers instead of asphalt, but Przybilla said with seniors using walkers and wheelchairs, Emmanuel wants to keep smooth surfaces throughout the campus. He said it was a trade-off with the water run-off plan to keep the smooth surfaces.

Commissioners didn't agree.

Imholte made a motion to keep the impervious surface at 44 percent and not exceed that. She said Houston Engineers, which is working on the project for Emmanuel, is creative and could come up with a different plan to cut the impervious.

Commissioner Roger Josephson added that he'd like to see a sidewalk on the grounds, but Przybilla said, and others on the commission agreed, it's the city's responsibility to put in sidewalks, not Emmanuel's.

Community Development Director Larry Remmen said the planning commission could recommend to the public works department that a sidewalk should be installed along Madison Avenue.

A motion passed to only allow the current 44 percent impervious surface.

Przybilla said if all goes according to plan, he'll know more later this fall on a date for the addition.

Improvements to the day service facility is important, he said, because as people get older, they should have more options. The day services area is a small, but very valuable program.

He added that Emmanuel received a $250,000 grant to develop the day care and respite care facility.

"We will be able to provide a higher level of care than we are capable of providing in the current (facility)," he said.