Proposed senior center near River Oaks has nearby residents upset


The senior center is expected to be built along South Shepherd near Allen Parkway.

Having lived in the Gotham Lofts for more than a decade, Ryan Owen never had a great view. But it could soon get worse if a planned retirement community is built, right next door.

"This building is going to be really tall, and really close to me, so the elderly people living in the home will be able to stare right into my unit, right in to my bedroom," he said.

Owen and his fellow homeowners at the Gotham Lofts are angry. They say if a 200-unit retirement center gets wedged between their building and the Renoir Condos, traffic along Shepherd will get worse and the narrow back street won't accommodate fire trucks.

"What would happen to us? How would the fire trucks get here? Where would they be, where would the ambulances go to?" concerned homeowner Willa White said.

So the homeowners took their concerns to the Houston Planning Commission. The developer, Jim Gray, was also present, but didn't want to comment before the meeting.

"We are trying to influence it in the best we can in the most reasonable manner," concerned homeowner Paul Lersch said.

Homeowners weren't successful. The commission approved the plan late Thursday.

Gray already has several retirement developments throughout Houston, including one in the Heights.

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