Assisted Living Facility Gives Some Woodstock Residents Heartburn

A proposal to build a 150-unit senior assisted living facility on Highway 92 has a few Woodstock residents concerned about its impact on their neighborhood.

A request to annex and rezone property to accommodate a senior assisted living facility along Highway 92 drew the ire of residents in an adjacent neighborhood during the Woodstock City Council meeting on Monday.

The council unanimously approved a request from William Pettit III regarding 8.03 acres at 12590 Highway 92.

About 5.7 acres of the property, currently zoned residential, is in unincorporated Cherokee County and the remaining portion is in the city limits and is zoned general commercial. 

Pettit asked the city to annex the county portion of the property and rezone the entire 8.03 acres to senior living to accommodate an assisted living and memory care facility.

The council gave the green light to the proposal, but not before hearing the opinions of a few residents who live in an adjacent neighborhood.  

Sandra Kramer, who lives along Lakestone Parkway in the nearby LakeStone subdivision, said she would like to see the facility incorporate "dark sky" lighting, so her quality of life isn't affected by bright lights shining into part of her home.

City staffers and a representative with Merrill Gardens, the developer who plans to build the project, confirmed the facility will incorporate dark skiy lighting, which emits little or no lighting upward in an effort to reduce so-called light pollution. 

Another resident, Anna Lisa McCormick, criticized the developer Merrill Gardens for wanting to build the facility near her neighborhood when there are other areas along Highway 92 that's currently zoned senior living, such as the property on Highway 92 at Neese Road.

"I don’t think it’s a good fit for our area," she added.

Residents also said they were concerned about the possibility of the developer having to blast rock in order to build on the land. Residents feared the rock blasting could impact the stability of their foundations.  

Building Official Duane Helton informed the council and the residents that state regulations require developers to have insurance to cover any damage that could be done from rock blasting.

Council member Tessa Basford asked if the developer could notify residents more than one day in advance of the scheduled rock blasting, noting that if she lived in the neighborhood, she'd want to know as early as possible what could happen.

A 72-hour notice "isn't given me any chance to express any concerns" she may have if she was a resident, Basford concluded.

The representative with the developer noted he expects to hear back in the next week to learn if he will have to perform rock-blasting and will inform the city of the report.

Even if he has to rock blasting, Helton added the blasting won't happen for at least another four months due to the developer having to jump through state regulations. 

The council approved the request with a stipulation that a gate is to be installed at the northwest corner along the access road. The gate would be tied to city's fire alarm system and have a universal Knox Box system.

Signage would also be placed to stipulate the access road is a one-way street and for emergency vehicles only. 

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