The Gasser Foundation has submitted a preliminary application with the city to build 77 new housing units at a former Sunrise assisted living facility on Valle Verde Drive in north Napa.

“Affordable housing is the biggest need in the community,” said Joe Peatman, Sr., Gasser Foundation president.

Divided into two parts, the project, at 3700 Valle Verde Drive, would include a variety of housing types.

The first section is called Heritage House. It would include 18 one-bedroom units and 35 single-room occupancy units (SROs) with on-site supportive housing for Napa’s “most vulnerable” residents.

The second section features a total of 24 affordable multi-family apartments divided into 16 two-bedroom units and eight three-bedroom units.

“The Gasser Foundation aims to be a partner” with the city and county to help find housing for the homeless, said the project description.

The project seeks to provide “stable affordable housing for vulnerable individuals and families” and services on site will help people keep those homes, improve their health and allow them to live and work in the community.

Kathleen Dreessen, executive director at Napa Valley Community Housing, said the 77 new units will be a welcome addition in Napa.

“There is a need for every kind of housing in Napa,” from low-income earners to the middle class, she said. “There’s just not a lot.”

“Every single type of housing deserves its place in the sun here,” Dreessen said.

Dreessen applauded the plan to pair supportive services with on-site housing. “I know there are people who need supportive services and I think that’s a big need in our county. It’s great to see somebody addressing that.”

The Gasser Foundation bought the former Sunrise Assisted Living of Napa property in 2016 from former owner Bridge Housing Corp. of San Francisco for more than $5 million.

Bridge had worked for several years with the city of Napa in a failed attempt to create the 57-unit Napa Creekside Apartments on the acreage east of Queen of the Valley Medical Center.

It pulled out in 2016 after a lawsuit by neighbors caused delays, and changes to state affordable housing funding policies hurt the financial plan.

The project would also include a parcel currently occupied by a vacant single-family house and outbuildings.

To create the complex, the existing single family-home and outbuildings would be removed. The former Sunrise building and parking lot would be retained.

A total of 92 parking spaces will be created. That includes one space for each one-bedroom unit, two spaces for each two- or three-bedroom unit and 0.3 spaces for each SRO unit.

The SRO units at Heritage House would range from 150 to 450 square feet.

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Among other requests, the Gasser Foundation is asking for a conditional use permit to allow housing with supportive units. It’s also asking the city to start the process of preparing an environmental impact report and a design review of the layout.

In total, the complex would be more than two and half acres in size.

All of the housing in the multi-family apartment building will be leased with rents “affordable to lower income” households that do not exceed 80 percent of the area median income, said the application. The Gasser Foundation said housing funding and assistance would help subsidize the affordable housing complex. The rental arrangement for the SRO rooms has yet to be announced.

Before it closed in 2004 due to water pipe breaks, an on-going under-capacity census and other challenges, the Sunrise assisted living facility housed 74 residents and support staff.

The new housing at the property will include 24/7 on-site property management and include offices and meeting rooms for supportive and health services.

Those services would include mental health, alcohol and substance abuse, independent living skills, health and medical, peer support and employment. Families would also have access to NEWS, which offers domestic violence and sexual abuse services, and the COPE Family Center.

“The plans that were submitted were very conceptual and more detailed plans are required to better understand the applicant’s objectives,” said Karlo Felix, senior planner for the city of Napa.

“Over the next few weeks, reviewing departments and agencies will be evaluating the application to identify what additional information is needed,” he said.

The project will eventually go to the Planning Commission for consideration.

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Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.