By Ann McCreary
A proposed senior housing development next to the Methow Valley Family Practice clinic in Twisp has met many of the conditions set by the town, and the main hurdle now for the project is financing.
The planned development — the largest project planned in Twisp for many years — was proposed more than two years ago by property owners Joseph and Beverly Jensen. It is designed to provide independent living for seniors in small homes close to town.
The project, which has received preliminary approval from the town, proposes to build 17 small individual residences or cottages next to the clinic on Second Avenue operated by Joseph Jensen, a family physician.
Engineering plans were completed in December for the development’s mechanical, electrical, sewer and water facilities, said John Hayes of Technical Assistance Group, who is working with the Jensens on the project.
“We’re waiting at this point on securing loans or private investment,” said Hayes. “We would love to build it tomorrow [but] we live in a very peculiar world right now as far as banking is concerned.
“The biggest factor right now is we have lending institutions that are lending to each other, but not so much lending for building loans,” Hayes added. “We are working with a couple of different lending institutions and there hasn’t been a commitment yet.”
Twisp planner Kurt Danison of Highlands Associates said the town still needs a final landscaping and street plan for the project. Any public improvements, such as sidewalks, curbs and gutters, need to be constructed or bonded prior to final approval from the town. No property can be sold until final approval is granted, Danison said.
The Methow Valley Senior Housing development would build one-bedroom and two-bedroom residences, varying in size from 672 to 960 square feet, on 1,000-square-foot lots. The homes would be grouped, with garden areas and about 60 percent of the development in open space.
The housing is designed to provide independent living for people who want to “downsize” from larger homes, said Hayes. The target group is people 55 and older, he said.
The property would be maintained by an owners’ association, Hayes said. Initial plans called for a community building, but that feature is on hold. “We didn’t want to add any additional cost. This is for elder housing. The goal was to keep the dues really low,” Hayes said.
The homes will be designed around three or four different floor plans, most of them on one level. “The Jensens have a desire not to have it look like some kind of company town, where everything is cloned,” Hayes said.
The goal of the development is to provide seniors in the valley with more housing choices, Hayes said.
“This is needed because people get pushed into assisted care way too early. They have a much better life if they have manageable living conditions,” Hayes said.