National Lutheran Communities & Services (NCSL) is purchasing 52 acres of the 175-acre Crystal Spring site. The owner of the property would keep 123 acres, including the area known as Mas Que Farm where the equestrian center is located.
NLCS would build a senior only living facility called The Village at Providence Point on 36 of their 52 acres. There would be no retail or commercial development on the site. There would be 303 senior housing units, 48 health care suites built, a chapel, recreation facility, plus the roads to support the development. The project would be built in two phases over a period of years. Nearly 28 acres of forest would be cleared, all of which would be replanted on the 175-acre site.
The developer and owner have agreed to execute a strict conservation easement that eliminates all future development on the 175 acres. The easement would guarantee that all 115 acres of remaining and replanted forest would be protected in perpetuity, the same amount as exists there now. This means that there can be no future development of the 175-acre site beyond the senior living facility except for a new Wellness House, some equestrian-related barns and stables (limited to 45,000 sq. ft.), a small picnic pavilion limited to 99 sq. ft., and minor changes in the development if dictated by new health safety laws. No forest could be cleared for these exceptions. The easement would assure that 139 acres will be protected in perpetuity with no future expansion of the development footprint of The Village at Providence Point with the one exception noted above.
The easement holder would be the Scenic Rivers Land Trust (SRLT), a highly respected group with more than 3,000 acres under easement in the county.
We have been working with SRLT on some terms of the easement. The new development plans filed on May 4 included a draft conservation easement that had conditions that would weaken some protections. For example, they would make it easier to clear diseased or trees encumbered by invasive species without permission of SRLT, they would allow some new roads through the property without permission of SRLT, and they would make it easier to amend or extinguish the easement.
We are involved in working out these remaining problem areas with NLCS, the city, and SRLT. We expect to reach a favorable resolution with a very good conservation outcome that assures that all 139-acres outside the senior living facility are protected from development in perpetuity, including all 115 acres of forest.