By Meghan Hall
The City of San José is evaluating a request by Santa Clara-based Salvatore Caruso Design Corporation to rezone three acres of agricultural land located at 4200 Dove Hill Road in San José, where the architecture team has submitted a proposal to develop an in-patient nursing and therapy care center. According to the City of San José, much of the town’s population growth has been concentrated in the southwest side of the City where the proposed Dove Hill Medical Center will be constructed.
The city would rezone three acres of a 21-acre agricultural site; the remaining 18 acres would be remain zoned as agricultural land and would be maintained as permanent private open space. Currently, the land is designated as Public and Quasi-Public Open Space, Parklands and Habitat.
Despite the zoning changes, however, the land’s allowable use will not change, as it is already compliant with the San José General Plan, according to Salvatore Caruso, founder of Salvatore Caruso Design Corporation.
“The General Plan calls out for medical and other types of facilities,” said Caruso. “This site is consistent with the General Plan and this use is consistent with the General Plan.”
Project plans call for the developer to demolish all existing buildings on the site and construct a convalescent hospital with 155 patient rooms and 248 beds spread across two three-story buildings. The proposal also includes a dining hall, multipurpose room, common outdoor space and new surface parking lots. The current proposed site is situated on a steep hill; part of the plans involve leveling the site to accommodate for the 174,149 square feet of space that the new facility will take up.
The new center would treat seniors with a variety of illnesses and injuries. Facilities for short-term and long-term care, occupational and physical therapy, 24-hour lab, x-ray and pharmacy services and post-acute surgical care will be provided on-site. No outpatient facilities are part of the hospital’s plans. The building will be designed with clay, tile and stucco, materials common to many of California’s missions.
Caruso said he was inspired to pursue the project after years of volunteering with the elderly.
“The major importance of this project is that we do not have enough housing for seniors, especially seniors with medical needs,” said Caruso. “With baby boomers retiring and needing special assistance, there aren’t enough places for these people and there really is a great need.”
The site is located just off of the U.S. Highway 101 and is across from Hellyer County Park and the Hellyer Disc Golf Course. The surrounding neighborhood is primarily residential and is composed of single family homes.
The City has received some feedback from the surrounding community regarding the development, particularly in regard to traffic. The Ranch on Silver Creek Community opposes the development, stating that rezoning and building on the site without any infrastructure improvements will only increase traffic in the area. Caruso emphasized that despite opposition, many neighbors in the area are supportive of the project and believes those who are not in favor of the change will appreciate the facility in time.
“I think that once they see it and it is built, they will be grateful it’s in their backyards,” said Caruso. “With time, I’m confident they will love it. I’m looking forward to that day when it will be a benefit to everybody.”
Salvatore Caruso Design Corporation had originally applied for a Planned Development Rezoning to construct two five story buildings to create a senior living facility back in September 2014. The original plans included 290 units and 340 beds, spread over approximately 244,000 square feet of proposed development. At the time, the City of San José planning staff recommended that the Planning Commission deny the Planned Development Rezoning and Planned Development Permit. According to public documents, city staff stated that the original plans did not demonstrate how the project would meet the site’s Public/Quasi Public General Plan land use designation.
However, with the revised plans, the Planning Commission recommended that the City Council approval the project at a City Council meeting in early September 2018, but the project has not yet been approved. According to Caruso, the project is set for hearing in the coming weeks.
“We will start construction documents immediately, so the hope is that within a year, we will break ground,” said Caruso. Buildout would take an addition 12 to eighteen months.