Confusion slows plan on senior facility

Published 6:00 pm Sunday, May 23, 2010

The developer of an assisted living facility expected to go upon Monticello Street and city officials appear to be back on thesame page after a little misunderstanding involving some details inproject plans.

Developer Gayle Evans said he was under the impression that he wasin line to move forward with work on the facility after discussinga height variance on the facility with the Brookhaven Board ofAldermen. In reality, city officials said, he still needs to have apublic hearing with the city board of adjustments before the planscan continue.

In addition, Evans said he would like to put seven bedrooms on thefirst floor because of the vicinity to the planned physical therapyfacility.

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“Everything’s all right now, and the mayor is working with us,”Evans said. “We’ve turned our plans back in, and we’re just waitingon approval on the height again, as well as the beds on the firstfloor. Everything’s back on track.”

City Public Works Director Steve Moreton said there is a heightlimit of 55 feet or five floors in the city, but that the plannedfacility might be around 66 feet. That needs to be addressed by theboard of adjustments, as do the first-floor bedrooms, Moretonsaid.

“He has to file for a special exception for residential use on thefirst floor. He has to file for those things,” he said.

Mayor Les Bumgarner said a misunderstanding in Moreton’s officethat led to Evans being arrested on public profanity chargesThursday was simply a result of the fact that there was still someconfusion over the steps that needed to be taken in theprocess.

“I think Mr. Evans thought he’d been approved and he hadn’t beenapproved yet,” the mayor said. “It has to go through a process, andthat doesn’t mean he won’t be approved. He just has to go throughthe process, and he thought that was completed.”

After some verbal dispute in Moreton’s office Thursday, Evans wasarrested by Brookhaven police. He paid a $195 fine and was releasedshortly after being booked, officials said.

Evans, 76, said he’s dedicated to making the assisted livingfacility a reality, and he’s been working on trying to bring it tobe for more than two years now.

“This is my hometown and I’m not trying to get rich off this. It’llbe three or four years before it breaks even, and I’m willing to dothat in order to put it here,” he said. “Brookhaven is my hometown,and I just want to do this before I check out.”

Bumgarner said the city is happy about the plans, and hopes thetime of misunderstandings and holdups is over.

“We’re excited about Mr. Evans wanting to build here and will workwith him every way can, but we just have to follow the rules,” hesaid. “We feel like everyone understands everyone now, I hope. Asfar as I’m concerned, everything’s fine and we’re movingforward.”