Athens Township supervisors granted a conditional use Monday to modified plans to build a skilled nursing facility and personal care home in the township.

Four supervisors voted to approve the proposed Sayre Health Care Center, to be built on a 13-acre parcel at Mile Lane and Lamoka roads. Christine Vough abstained from Monday's vote.

A conditional use was granted in February for the initial plans, which only called for a 74-bed skilled nursing facility to be built on the residential suburban-zoned parcel, said Damian Rossettie, the attorney representing Sayre Health Care LLC.

The modified proposal reduces the facility to 50 beds - 20 private rooms and 15 two-bed, semi-private rooms - and a 72-bed personal care home. Both buildings will be one story, said Gary Burcher, managing partner of Honesdale-based Keystone Consulting, the project's engineering firm.

The property borders several houses to the south and the Chesapeake training and housing facility to the north. Burcher said the Lamoka Road access drive to the complex was built to the north to keep traffic from residential neighbors. Vegetative plantings will act as a buffer on the south side of the property, Burcher said.

Michael Kelly, president of Sayre Health Care LLC, said having the two facilities in one location - a "continuing care retirement community" - has become a state mandate. This would be the first such community in Bradford County, and the state plans on using it as a "test case" for the mandate, he said.

Having the two facilities in one location also makes it easier for residents to transfer between facilities if they require more or less care, Kelly said.

The proposed facilities will replace the current Sayre Health Care Center on North Elmer Avenue, which Senior Health Care Solutions, Sayre Health Care's parent company, purchased from Guthrie about a year ago, Kelly said.

The company chose to build a new facility after officials found it to be more economical to replace the current building, which Kelly described as "antiquated and obsolete."

Kelly said he hoped to break ground on the new facilities by early October. With the buildings expected to take a year to complete, he said he hoped to have the center opened in the fall of 2013.

"We're very anxious to get in the ground," he said.

Amanda Renko can be reached at (570) 888-9652; or email: arenko@thedailyreview.com.