Heritage Hills expansion OK'd

Shawn Hardy news@echo-pilot.com

The owners of Heritage Hills Retirement Community have the green light from Antrim Township to proceed with plans to expand.

A conditional use hearing for the property at 2256 Shanks Church Road was held Tuesday night. After hearing testimony, the township planning commission recommended approval and then township supervisors voted 5-0 to grant approval with a number of conditions suggested by Sylvia House, zoning and code enforcement officer, and John Lisko, solicitor.

The retirement community is allowed as a conditional use in the low-density residential area, but supervisors can place stipulations on its expansion.

Becky and Brian Hissong, who have owned Heritage Hills since 2005, agreed to all the conditions.

In her testimony, Becky Hissong said the facility is aging, they are looking at renovating it and the first phase will include an addition out the back, with plans to break ground in the spring. Future phases may include an addition at the front, independent rental cottages and an event center.

"The future depends on how things go ...," Becky Hissong said, while Brian Hissong said, "We'll see what develops."

The personal care home is currently licensed for 36 residents and generally has 26 to 27 with private and semi-private rooms and shared bathrooms. The addition will feature private or semi-private rooms, each with its own bathroom and kitchenette.

Heritage Hills residents receive as much or as little assistance with daily living as they need, ranging from personal care to medication reminders.

"The need continues to grow for this in Franklin County," Becky Hissong said.

The Hissongs also own Heritage In-Home Care and its offices will move from North Washington Street in Greencastle to the addition, which also will house facilities like a multi-purpose room, spa and fitness area. The dining room will also be expanded and a great room added to take advantage of the view over the countryside.

The conditions include maintaining a residential rather than institutional feel for the property. Brian Hissong said one of the community's assets it that it retains the feel of the farm it once was and that contributes to the friendly, family atmosphere.

Other conditions include ensuring access for emergency vehicles on the private roads; clearly marking designated parking; installing Americans with Disabilities compliant crosswalks and signs on Shanks Church Road for access to the township's shared access trail across the street; aligning intersections of roads off the property with the ones across the road — Melrose Avenue and Helens Drive; and having residents of 55 and older, or others in need of assistance with daily living.

"Congratulations, you're building a real nice place for us," Fred Young, chairman of the supervisors, said after the approval.