Commission OKs S-1 request for assisted living centerPublished 10:02am Friday, August 15, 2014
Click here to subscribe and skip the survey.
The Brookhaven Planning commission voted four to two Thursday night to recommend a special use petition for the Advanced Healthcare Management Assisted Living Facility on Silver Cross Drive.
The commission will present its recommendation to the Brookhaven Board of Alderman to allow the facility an S-1 distinction.
The planning commission moved to allow the S-1 special use development zoning contingent on Advanced Healthcare only building on the location based upon their showing of a change of character in the neighborhood and a public need.
S-1 is not the same as rezoning because the area currently zoned as R-1 (residential) will remain R-1. The assisted living facility will have a special use distinction within the existing R-1 zoning, and an S-1 distinction will not give any other properties the same distinction without going through the same process.
The commission’s recommendation will be put on the agenda for the next board of alderman meeting Tuesday, Aug. 19, at 6:30 p.m. At that time, the board can vote on the matter and make a decision regarding the S-1 distinction. Citizens also may appeal to the board to hold a special hearing.
Planning commission members Dave Pace, Kathryn Williams, Kristy Sessums and Mike Clark voted for the distinction. Don Harrigill and Annie Knight voted against the petition. Pace was the first to make the motion for the petition for special use. James Magee was not present for the vote, and Mitchell Davis recused himself from voting because he lives in the Meadowbrook area, which is near the proposed facility.
“I have seen this group shut down entirely before based on one individual with opposition, and I think the city alderman have done the same thing,” said Harrigill. “The opposition has to be considered and has been in the past, so I think it’s important.”
Harrigill outlined several of his arguments against the petition before the commission voted. His main objection was the lack of proper documentation of the property ownership.
“There has been a lot of work over the last few days trying to show the assisted living facility group can be considered the owner, but they are not the owner. I’ve not seen any sales contract about it,” said Harrigill. “All of these things were to have been done before the group came here before us, before last week.”
The commission first reviewed the S-1 proposal last week, but recessed until this Thursday because the proper documentation was not available. Before this Thursday’s meeting, Advanced Healthcare sent various items of paperwork noting the agreement the company had with original property owner, Central Baptist Church.
During the meeting, Clark acknowledged that in past meetings this has been sufficient evidence for the board to rezone areas. He said that Advanced Healthcare has provided more documentation than has been required in other instances.
The boardroom last night was filled with concerned citizens from both sides of the issue. Approximately 60 people were present. Several of them were allowed to speak to the commission to plead their case before the vote.
“My wife is still in good health, like I am, but it’s fast catching up on us,” said A.G. Black, 91-year-old Brookhaven resident. “I’d hate to have to move to another area when that time comes. We don’t want something for nothing, but I would like to be able to have the choice of staying here in Brookhaven as opposed to picking up and losing all my friends. It would break my heart.”
Other supporters of the new facility spoke to the need for an assisted living facility, the positive track record of Advanced Healthcare Management and the overall positive impact it would make on the image of Brookhaven as a Certified Retirement City.
“We all agree that Brookhaven would prosper with this facility located on property already zoned for this purpose,” said Martha Arrington, representing the Meadowbrook community. “The character of our neighborhood will definitely change if we don’t continually object to rezoning. This board has denied several ventures in the past, and we humbly ask for a denial. ”
Other objections to the special use petition included the possible effects of the facility being constructed on the existing poor sewer systems, the overall lack of support from the Meadowbrook community and the availability of other R-3 zoned lots.
Currently, there is nothing located at the proposed site, which is a vacant lot behind Central Baptist Church. Advanced Healthcare Management chose that location for the assisted living facility because of its proximity to medical facilities and its distance from restrictions such as the railroads, smoke, dust, foul odors and more.
With the S-1 distinction, the construction of the assisted living facility would be closely monitored and regulated by the planning commission and board of aldermen during every step. The Meadowbrook neighborhood will not be rezoned and will remain R-1.
In a previous interview, Ward Six Alderman David Phillips said the alderman generally accept the recommendations made by the planning commission.