This residential property at 910 N. Davis St. in Albany is being proposed as a personal care home.
ALBANY, Ga. -- A large contingent of residents in the historic Rawson Circle neighborhood asked the Albany City Commission Tuesday to not allow a personal care home to be located in their neighborhood, saying such facilities will, among other grievances, devalue their homes.
Anne Mitchell was among the neighbors who made passionate pleas against a request by Bailey Health Care CEO Randy Bailey to make an exception to the moratorium for personal care homes currently in place in the city.
"It's getting harder and harder every day that you don't allow citizens to live safely in our neighborhoods," Mitchell said. "The more you allow these group homes to encroach on our neighborhood, the more you allow them to encroach on the integrity of these homeowners in the one truly exceptional neighborhood left in this city.
"We're against businesses that don't care about our neighborhood. They're only there seeking monetary gain. Please do not destroy the best neighborhood to live in in Albany."
Bailey said he's already encountered financial hardship because of the moratorium, which will run out at the end of this month. He said he's spent $11,200 in rent on the property, $750 in expenses to meet with three individuals from Thomasville who want to stay at the 910 N. Davis St. home, and that he's "losing $466.68 a day every day that the facility is not open."
"When we finish work we have planned on the facility, it will look like any other home in the neighborhood," Bailey said. "This moratorium, in addition to the funding we're losing, is delaying us bringing 15 new jobs to Albany. And it's keeping three individuals from having a home."
The state of Georgia drastically cut funding for personal care homes under its jurisdiction, forcing residents of many such facilities to find private care homes. Rawson Circle resident Beverly Wilson said she's afraid granting Bailey a license in the historic district would set a dangerous precedent.
"If this (facility) is allowed in our neighborhood, they could start popping up all over the place," Wilson said. "And I can assure you the investment we've made in our homes in this neighborhood is much more than $11,200 in rent and $750 in expenses."
Ward V Commissioner Bob Langstaff warned the residents that the city is limited in the restrictions it can place on personal care homes.
"(Wilson) said 'personal care homes could start popping up all over the place,' and she's right," Langstaff said. "In some respects, you have to understand, our hands are tied. We can limit certain things like number of cars and number of residents, but we can't limit the 'kinds' of people (allowed in such facilities). We're looking for balance.
"We put a moratorium in place because we knew the state was going to close a lot of its (personal care) facilities, and we realized our ordinance (on restrictions of such facilities) had not been updated in 20 years. It was written to fit federal guidelines from 20 years ago, and now we're playing catchup."
The commission decided to vote on granting Bailey's exception request to the moratorium at its Jan. 15 work session.