After 18 local residents spoke out against it, Sherman’s Planning & Zoning Commission denied a proposed assisted care facility in a city neighborhood on Tuesday.
Property owner Jade Devalk was requesting a specific use permit and site plan to allow the business to operate in a one family residential district at 2402 Nantucket Dr., a property at the southwest corner of the intersection of Nantucket Drive and Lamberth Road. Neighborhood residents expressed concern with the possible increases in traffic and flooding the business could bring, and expressed concerns with safety for residents, visitors and the seniors that would reside at the facility.
“We heard a lot of discussions, and based on what we’ve heard, I move to deny this request,” commission member David Downtain said.
The commission approved the denial unanimously, though commission members Kyle Patterson, Jeff Adams, Sean Vanderveer and Trish Bridges were absent from the meeting. After the vote, the more than 50 audience members in attendance for the item applauded the commission.
“I’m not trying to make enemies of the neighborhood,” Devalk said. “I know Sherman has quite a large population of seniors and I’m not stating that the facilities that are existing here are bad, I’m just saying they’re huge.”
After the meeting, Devalk said she has no plans to appeal the commission’s decision to the Sherman City Council.
In a letter to the commission written last month, Devalk said she has been searching for a care facility to look after her parents with dementia for the last nine months as they are from another country and have a hard time communicating. Devalk wrote she decided to try to solve her problem by creating her own facility so her parents and others could live out their days in a “home environment instead of a commercial facility.” She wrote that she’s like to remodel an existing home to house several seniors and provide care around the clock in a “comfortable cozy home.”
“It basically would be a Type B facility, which is either active or semi-active seniors who need a little bit of care with their assisted daily living — such as cooking, laundry, putting on a shirt even,” Devalk said. “That’s what I want to provide for them. It’s not going to be a facility type, I want them to be able to live and just be at home instead of a facility.”
Devalk planned to add approximately 476 square feet to the existing home on Nantucket Drive to provide six bedrooms in the facility, which was to be called JW Assisted Living LLC. She told the commission she would be one of the daily caregivers and would have one other caregiver until the facility got past six occupants. Devalk said the facility would max out at nine occupants and three workers.
The council chambers at City Hall, where the meeting was held, was full of people who attended to hear the commission’s decision and for nearly half an hour, 18 neighborhood residents voiced their concerns with the specific use permit request.
“I just feel like they need to find another area that is zoned properly and not rezone ours,” Ann May, who lives on Lamberth Circle, said. “Usually, a home is a person’s greatest investment. I do feel like there would be a negative effect to our homes there.”
May also raised a concern that should the business be given approval and then change owners, the specific use permit could allow other businesses to open shop in the neighborhood. However, commission Chairman Clay Mahone told the audience specific use permits are generally tied to the business that makes the request.
Traffic seemed to be the biggest concern for the residents in attendance, as many of the 18 people to speak mentioned it as a reason for the commission to deny the request.
“I know we’ve talked about the traffic, but I’m the one that has to back out onto Lamberth every day,” Canyon Creek Drive resident Bert Bond said. “Usually I get honked at, I get the No. 1 guy in Sherman sign, but the traffic there, no one does the 30 miles (per hour), it’s 40 or 45 miles per hour.”
The commission also received a written response to the notice of the request sent out by the city. Bettye Russell, who lives on West Wilson Street, said the assisted care facility should not be allowed at this address.
“A nursing home in a one family residential district would be peculiar/strange and also would reduce the value of the family residents homes,” she wrote.