Brad Dicken and Jon Wysochanski
AVON — The Lorain County commissioners are nearing a deal to sell the rights to beds from the county-owned Golden Acres nursing home, which closed earlier this year, to a company that plans to operate a skilled nursing facility in Avon.
The sale would likely net the county more than $1.2 million and partially plug a budget hole that county officials have said could leads to cuts next year.
County Administrator Jim Cordes said he couldn’t discuss the particulars of the pending sale because the agreement hasn’t been finalized and there still are some details that need to be ironed out with state and federal agencies that oversee nursing home beds.
But the details of the sale were part of the discussion Monday night when Avon City Council was mulling imposing a six-month moratorium on the construction of nursing homes, assisted living and congregate care facilities.
Avon Mayor Bryan Jensen said Tuesday that Council decided against a moratorium that would have halted plans for a campus of senior facilities off of Nagel Road near the railroad tracks. He said there were some concerns about exactly what type of buildings would be constructed there and whether they would meet the zoning requirements in the area.
The city might revisit the moratorium idea in the near future, but if that happens it would exempt projects already in the pipeline, Jensen said.
The city took issue with separate projects by separate developers being touted as one congregate care facility and had considered declaring the moratorium while it reviewed its master plan and zoning regulations.
Developer Marc Strauss approached City Council on Monday and urged members not to declare a moratorium because doing so would have a significant effect on project investments that could result in monetary losses to the county.
Strauss said the Sept. 11 agreement to purchase 82 nursing home bed licenses from the county makes them “the only viable buyer for the purchase of those beds.”
“If this moratorium goes into effect the county stands to lose $1.25 million,” he said.
Jensen said Tuesday that even if the moratorium had gone into effect, the city would have carved out an exemption so the nursing home buying the county-owned beds would have been able to move forward.
“Even if it had been voted on we were going to make sure we didn’t hurt the county,” Jensen said.
Cordes said the county is looking at a roughly $2.3 million budget hole and already had budgeted in $1 million from the sale of the beds to get to that point. Had the sale failed, he said, it would have meant a $3.3 million deficit when the county commissioners met to vote on approving a temporary 2016 budget today.
The developer on the nursing home project that plans to buy the county’s beds, Michael Francus, said Tuesday that with the moratorium off the table his company, Cuyahoga Falls-based VRC Management, is pushing ahead with the project.
He said the 82-bed facility will be a one-story building about 62,000 square feet in size that will be managed by Embassy Health and will focus on treating short-term patients so they can return to their homes.
Francus said additional health care facilities for seniors are also planned on the same property. He said that will be good for the county because it doesn’t have enough nursing home beds.
Strauss originally owned more than 50 acres of land along Nagel Road consisting of several parcels, one of which is being developed into the Rose Senior Living facility by Michigan-based Edward Rose Properties as part of a $34 million project.
The other parcels are slated for another assisted living facility being developed by Strauss and affordable housing for seniors