Jeff Davis Police Jury gives OK for assisted living center

Published 10:30 am Thursday, September 14, 2023

The Jeff Davis Parish Police Jury took action on several rezoning issues Wednesday including approving an assisted living center for the elderly north of Lacassine and a dirt pit off Interstate 10 in Lacassine.

The Police Jury voted 7-2 with police jurors Curt Guillory and Butch Lafargue opposing the request from Eleanor Simien to rezone just over three acres on Gro Racca Road and La. 101 from agriculture to commercial to allow for the assisted living center.

Police jurors Donald Woods, Marcus Peterson, Kori Myers, Tim McKnight, Melvin Adams, Bryon Buller and Owen Cormier voted in favor of the rezoning. Police jurors Wayne Fruge and John Marceaux were absent.

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“I’m not opposed to businesses, I am opposed to businesses in residential country neighborhoods,” Guillory said after the meeting.

Guillory said he received several calls and texts from people living on Gro Racca, La. 101 and Pine Hill Cemetery Road asking him to oppose the plan because they did not want it in their neighborhood.

“These people brought their property in the country to live in the country,” Lafargue said. “If they wanted to be by a business, they’d move to town.”

Simien said the center would be designated for those who can do for themselves, but would be handicapped assessible.

“Basically what we are trying to do is an assisted living facility for the elderly,” Simien said. “These are elderly people who can do for themselves, but just need a little assistance with daily living.”

She said the center would be similar to the Villa Maria skilled nursing facility in Lake Charles.

“It’s not a nursing home because these individuals all do for themselves,” Simien said. “None of them will be bedridden.”

Plans for the center also include a nurse’s station, cafeteria and a physical therapy room. Additional plans include two parking spaces for each resident.

Simian said the center would provide individual apartments for 20-25 residents in a gated community with a privacy fence. Access to the center would be off La. 101 with no traffic entering or exiting on Gro Racca Road, according to Simien.

She said the center would be funded both individually and by the state, but will not be a nursing home.

Resident Tyler LaBove, who recently brought property next to Simien’s property, expressed concern for the location and his family, including his daughter who is losing her vision.

“I didn’t buy that piece of property for them to build a nursing home or whatever,” LaBove said. “Because I don’t know who is going to be out there and who is going to be coming around.”

Resident Sherman Singleton expressed concern about his property value decreasing with the center located next door.

In other matters, the Police Jury unanimously agreed to rezone 20 acres on the North Frontage Road in Lacassine to allow for a dirt pit.

The Police Jury granted a request from ROI Strategic Investments and 21360 Frontage Road, LLC for a change in zoning classification from light to heavy industrial for a dirt pit on the North Frontage Road. Mitch Kerrigan said he plans to sell dirt from the size for construction along I-10.

No one spoke for or against the rezoning.