Residents oppose Livingston development

Residents oppose Livingston development


The Madison County Board of Supervisors will take up a request next month that could allow for an assisted living facility to be built in the Town of Livingston despite opposition from nearby residents and businesses. 

Last month, the Madison County Planning & Zoning Commission voted 3-1 to allow a conditional use on five acres of property to construct a personal care facility featuring 15 beds that will be called The Oaks. The applicants are Chad Phillips and Crystal Gardner Phillips. 

In August, the zoning commission voted to approve the project pending approval from the Mannsdale-Livingston Historic Preservation District, which denied the project in August. 

Chad Phillips, in August, told commissioners that the facility would house 15 residents. He said the state requires one caregiver for every 15 residents but they would employ one for every five residents during the day and one for every 6-7 residents during the night. 

On Oct. 19, Steve Smith, a Jackson attorney representing the Phillips, told zoning commissioners that at first the historic preservation district denied the application in August, citing landscaping and elevation. 

Smith said his clients updated their plans to satisfy preservationists’ concerns. Then, in October, MLHPD cited six other concerns regarding the property ranging from setbacks to elevations and whether or not a dumpster would be on the property. He said those six concerns were all addressed and updated in the plans, but the historic district would not revisit the matter to vote for approval. 

“We revised our plans and met every issue that they had raised,” Smith said. 

Rita McGuffie with the preservation board told commissioners that they originally presented an assisted living facility that later changed to a personal care home. 

“We met with these petitioners on four different occasions,” she told commissioners in October, saying that procedurally they have been put in an awkward position. 

She said at each juncture before they voted they asked if this was the final presentation and it continued to change. 

“Procedurally it puts us in a very hard position,” she said. “The other members of the commission decided there were so many possibilities for getting everything that needed to be addressed and…they decided that in this particular case, we should stand by our (August vote).”

Henry Greaves, who initially owned the property in question, spoke in opposition to the development and has since joined other businesses and residents in formally appealing the P&Z decision in October. 

Greaves said they placed a 50-year covenant on the deed that would require the preservation board’s approval on any development and that there would only be single-family dwellings on the property. 

Greta Mills owns nearby property and is also against the project. 

She, too, argued the land is subject to the historic preservation district’s approval and said the project does not meet the standards of Livingston, saying it would be “out of harmony” with the rest of the area. She also worried about the definition of personal care, saying it’s possible that the facility could house those in rehab or with mental health issues. 

Smith was quick to respond, saying he doesn’t think the facility violates the integrity of the community and that saying it would be an alcohol rehab facility was “far-fetched.”

“I don’t know what else we can say or do,” he said. 

Supervisors are expected to take up the matter on Dec. 4. 

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