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Covington votes no to personal care home
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A group of concerned citizens spoke up to the Covington Planning and Zoning Department and the Covington City Council, and had their voices heard Monday night.

A special use permit went before the city council at their public meeting for the address of 4175 Emory Street to be turned into a personal care home. The permit was denied by a vote of 6-0.

The home was to accommodate five senior citizens, 64 and older, as approved by the state, and one in-home caretaker full time.

However, neighbors had reservations against the site, concerning property values, refuse and transportation of vans or buses going to and from the house. Those reservations were presented in a signed petition of more than 60 people, including 26 residents of the neighborhood.

“We feel our property values would very negatively be affected,” Genie Fouts said. “We are investors in our houses in this community. We feel like we’re being targeted because we’re on a city street and not in a subdivision; a subdivision would not even be considered for this venture.”

The applicant, Rhonda Holt, insisted the proposed personal care home would not depreciate value, and was being placed in a residential area for the comfort of the clients.

“Again, we understand these concerns,” Holt said. “We have been looking for a safe home to serve our community and elderly. It is our concern along with the neighbors of depreciating value of the home. But an empty home will depreciate the value of the area, could increase the crime and cause environmental concerns, not to mention the city will lose tax revenue.”

Councilwoman Janet Goodman voiced not only her concern, but also echoed the feelings of the council in opposition of the special use permit.

“My main concern is that the people who live there don’t want it in their community,” Goodman said. “I’m uncomfortable with the concept, because like these folks, we don’t have but one house, and that’s the only house we’re going to have. We want to protect it as best as we can, as long as we live. I have a problem with it.”

When Scott Gaither put forward the planning and zoning department’s recommendation that the council approved the personal care home, Councilman Chris Smith made a motion to deny the permit, followed by a second from Councilwoman Ocie Franklin.