Expansion of Spring Lake Village Worries Neighbors


The expansion of Spring Lake Village has just been completed and is planning to expand again, an indicator for a strong high-end senior housing market, however, raising traffic concerns, including transparency issues among the neighbors within the semi-rural area.

In February, the valley just completed an upgrade and expansion worth $140 million, adding 62 new units, which are nearly fully occupied. Because of it has a high demand for independent living, plus continuing care and experienced nursing facilities, the community is now planning on an eastward expansion. However, the plan is troubling neighbors as the area to be upgraded is a former orchard that has over 300 trees.

The Episcopal Senior Communities based in Walnut Creek has acquired several pieces of land to its current campus in the last 2 years. It includes 2 residential parcels, a 6-acre vacant piece of land, and a bed and breakfast. The company wants the expansion at the easternmost vacant parcel of land as it wants to add 24 independent units, 6 single-story duplex cottages, and a 2-storey, 12-units apartment complex.

Spring Lake Village executive director Sharon York said the eastern grove will have its independent community center, a pool, exercise room, and would be tied to the main campus through a shuttle bus or a walking path. The housing units would have complete kitchens, although the residents are expected to eat at the main dining hall at least once a day, she added.

However, neighbors are now worried for several reasons. Traffic is amongst the concerns as the Montgomery Drives is always used by visitors of the Annadel State Park and the Spring Lake Regional Park. It is also used by motorists seeking an alternative route to Highway 12.

The Los Alamos Road will become the main entrance to the new facility; saying that it would be a major worry among its residents, said Melinda Cabral who is the Villa Los Alamos homeowners’ association president. The residents of the complex are also worried about the noise and lights.

Ken Wells, a Brey Road resident said the first expansion plan was nontransparent, regarding its long-term plans. The facility would claim that there are no any new plans, but a year later, they would develop another parcel, she a Wells added. Wells also said that the company is “piece-mealing” the entire project until they have a whole neighborhood in their facility.

York has denied the claim, but merely calling it as a new project, while they’re only responding to market demands. She also added that the bed and breakfast is now used as housing for visitors and staff, no longer accessed by the public. The residential properties may be used for further expansion in the future, although no existing plans to date.

The western property that the facility developed was previously owned by the Spring Lake Village 20 years prior to the completion of work. She also explained that there is an ongoing approval process, which just started recently, but expects a dialogue with the rest of the community in the next months.

York expressed her appreciation about the neighbors’ concerns and she’s confident that everything will work out fine for everyone’s satisfaction. Meanwhile, the project’s land-use consultant Michelle Gervais said the entire expansion will have a comprehensive environmental impact report, which will be part of the review.

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With over twenty years of experience in the field of journalism, Daniel Johnson is the ideal man to write for USA News. He has delved in all sorts of journalism, be it crime, politics, investigative, environmental or human rights journalism, he has a discerning view of them all. Currently, he is a Washington correspondent and his area of expertise is international development, environment and corporate regulation. Other than the US, he has a wealth of experience which he has gathered from different countries which he has visited in the Southeast Asia region and in the African regions. He has also worked as a part time radio reporter.