WARREN - Residents soon might not need be quite as old to be considered seniors.
Councilman Vince Flask is proposing that the city lower the minimum age in which people would be considered seniors from age 62 down to 55 years old under its senior citizens multi-family district legislation.
The city originally passed the seniors district legislation in 1973 to create areas where developers could focus on the needs of older residents.
While the original legislation is nearly 40 years old, there are no senior citizen multi-family districts in the city.
Flask, D-5th Ward, last month introduced legislation to lower the age because the company Clover Communities is looking to build 120 senior units on approximately 10 acres of land.
City Council's engineering, planning and building committee is scheduled to meet on the legislation at 4 p.m. today in the council's caucus chambers.
Originally, the committee also was to discuss a tax abatement proposal requested by Clover Communities, but that legislation may be tabled.
Clover Communities has senior housing complexes in New York, Georgia, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Ohio. It was founded by Michael Joseph in 1989 to create market-rate senior housing.
It owns or manages more than 10 million square feet of property, including senior housing, according to the company's website.
Flask said the company would like the city to lower the age in Warren's senior housing ordinance to make it consistent with ordinances in other communities in which Clover has apartment complexes.
"It markets its housing units to people 55 years old and older," Flask said.
The councilman would not reveal where the proposed $4 million senior complex would be located, only saying it would be in the 5th Ward.
Councilwoman Helen Rucker, D-at large, during a recent finance committee meeting expressed concern that lowering the minimum age requirements in the legislation could backfire and open the senior living communities to much younger people.
"People generally buy or lease units in senior living areas looking for specific, often quieter, lifestyles," Rucker said. "Lowering the age to 55 could invite situations in which people on the lower end are still raising their grandchildren or even their children."
Rucker gave the example of Tod Crossing, which, according to the councilwoman, was originally developed as a senior complex. The original developer sold it to another company, which lowered the age in which people could move into the complex.
"People with children and more subsidized renters moved in, creating a situation that has been uncomfortable to original residences," she said. "It has devastated the peace in the area."
Clover Communities officials said they will build the $4 million senior housing project only if the city changes the zone of the area it is looking at from residential to a senior citizens multi-family district.
"The company is looking to build market rate, not subsidized housing," Flask said. "It is designing this project to bring in new people into Warren, which will increase the city's tax base."