BOC denies personal care home

COVINGTON — County commissioners denied a conditional use permit last week for a personal care home on Ga. Highway 36 after hearing from neighbors who were opposed.

Andrea Buckle requested a permit to operate an assisted living facility for up to six people — five residents and one resident manager — at 11530 Ga. Highway 36. Buckle, who said she owns three personal care homes, said the facility could serve the elderly as well as mentally handicapped individuals. She said more such facilities are needed for patients who do not meet nursing home criteria.

“This is not a get-rich-quick scheme. I’ve been doing this for seven years, and I’m still not rich,” she said.

Attorney Phil Johnson spoke on behalf of his mother and several other nearby property owners. Johnson said the families in the area have lived there for more than 50 years and the requested use is not compatible.

“We ask you to consider this is still a residential community and we need to protect that for these elderly occupants that have been there for so long,” he said.

He also said that, “Anything we do to add more traffic out there without some improvements to that road are not a healthy situation traffic-wise.”

A few neighbors also said they are concerned that the highway is not a safe place to put a personal care home.

“I feel like the house itself is too close to Highway 36. Just in case a patient came outside and wandered around, that’s too busy of a highway,” said Donna Henderson.

During her rebuttal, Buckle said the needs of the people that would be served by the facility were being overlooked.

“These are living, breathing people that we’re talking about. We’re not talking about a neighborhood,” she said, adding that residents could not get out of the facility and would not be coming and going, and there would be no bus traffic.

Commissioner Levie Maddox made the motion to deny the petition, citing inadequacy of the public street, incompatibility with existing properties and impact on adjacent landowners. The petition was unanimously denied, with Commissioner Lanier Sims absent.