|Commissioners wished the best to survivors of the fire at |
Marshall Square in Evans, Georgia.
According to a report prepared by Paul DeCamp and Andrew Uhlir, the number of personal care homes in Augusta continues to grow, and with this addition comes the increased need to ensure they are continually providing a high quality of life for the residents and the surrounding community. The Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) facilitates the state licensing of these facilities, while local building, zoning, and fire safety codes regulate additional standards, such as location and type of home, safety, and property/building maintenance.
Although homes may undergo an initial inspection, DCH is limited in their resources to provide periodic inspections to ensure compliance. Furthermore, DCH design requirements can be broad and may not meet all of the needs of individual communities. Additional or more restrictive requirements are allowable for local jurisdictions in order to ensure a high quality of living and safety.
The intent of this amendment is to provide a way for Augusta to not only increase the quality of life of residents through design requirements, but to also provide a way to ensure personal care homes are continually in compliance past their initial inspection. The ordinance focuses on American with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards of Accessible Design, living room, dining room, bathroom, and bedroom spacing, privacy, and accessibility.
Many of these design requirements are increased clarification or additions to DCH requirements that are already in place. Furthermore, continued compliance focuses on annual updates to business licensing as well as annual inspections.
The new ordinance amends the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance adopted by the Augusta, Georgia Commission effective September 16, 1997.
Amend the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance by adding Section 28-F (Personal Care Homes) and amending Section 4-2 (Oft Street Parking for All Areas Except Central Business District (CBD) and Section 26-1(h) (Special Exception- Family personal care home subject to the following criteria).
28-F-1 PURPOSE This section is intended to an enhance the quality of living standards of Personal Care Homes in order to protect the health, safety, and integrity of the residents. This section includes regulatory requirements, home design standards, and parking requironents for Personal Care Homes occupied by six or fewer unrelated individuals who reside there and receive care. These include Family Persoaal Care Homes, both as a Permitted Use and as a Special Exception granted per Section 26-l (h), as well as Special Use Permits granted for a Personal Care Home per Section 8-3 (e). Other applicable requirements for Personal Care Homes include: Georgia Departrnent of Community Health (DCH) requirements, Intemational Property Maintenance Code, and Fire Code compliance.
28-A-2 DEFINITIONS As used in this Section of the ordinance, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
"Personal Care Home" - shall mean a building occupied by the property owners, or by a person or persons employed by the property owners, and also occupied by unrelated individuals who reside there and receive care and/or supervision from the property owners or persons in their ernployment. A personal care home shall provide care for elderly and./or handicapped persons. Personal Care Homes shall be classified as: Family Personal Care Homes, Group Personal Care Homes, and Congregate Personal Care
"Personal Care Home Application" - The official application for a Personal Care Home, attached to a Special Use Permit application, a Special Exception application, or a permitted use zoning application.
28.A-3 GENERAL REQUIREMENTS
A. Regulatory Compliance:
Personal Care Homes shall comply with all applicable city zoning, building, housing, and fire codes, and shall fully comply with the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) Rules and Regulations for Personal Care Homes (Section lll-8-62 of Georgia Code). Proof of compliance as a state registered Personal Care Home through DCH shall be submitted with a Personal Care Home Application.
A Personal Care Home Application must contain a scaled floor plan of the entire residence, including the following details:
a. Bedroom, bathroom, and common room dimensions (must meet standards set forth in Section 28-B Home Design Requirements).
b. Number ofpersons per bedroom.
c. Rooms labeled (i.e. bedroom, closet, bathroom, dining room, kitchen, etc.).
d. Label area for use by residents and visitors which affords privacy (i.e.
an area where residents can meet alone with visitors).
The maximum number of residents allowed for the Personal Care Home is dependent upon the specifications in the Home Design Requirements Section below, as well as Department of Community Health (DCH) requirements.
If the maximum number of residents allowed is different between DCH requirernents and Municipal Code requirements, the more stringent regulations will apply.
Applicant shall provide evidence annually to the Augusta Planning and Development Department that the facility continues to satisff the conditions of approval set forth in this ordinance, as well as Department of Community Health (DCH) requiranents. Evidence of compliance shall be submitted at least thirty (30) days before the renewal of a business license.
During this time, the Augusta Planning and Development Department may inspect the home to ensure compliance with both the city ordinance and the business license requirements. Evidence submitted in the business license renewal process shall include:
a. A copy of the most recent DCH inspection report and plan for correction.
b. A copy of the most current and accurate licensed residential care profile.
Upon a Personal Care Home being approved, applicant shall make no alterations or additions to the primary structure for the purpose of increasing the number of individuals who reside there and receive care.
Any Special Exception or Special Use Permit issued pursuant to this Section shall terminate if the structure is devoted to a use other than a Personal Care Home.
If the structure fails to maintain compliance with all building, safety, health, and zoning requirements, the Special Exception or Special Use Permit shall be grounds for termination and the owner/operate shall thereafter be required to discontinue the use of the premises as a Personal Care Home.
B. Home Design Requirements:
1. Common Areas
i. Homes serving a person dependent upon a wheelchair or scooter for mobility must meet the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design set forth by the United States Department of Justice. ADA standard ramps within the front yard must include a landscape buffer around the perimeter of the ramp for the purpose of visual aesthetics.
ii. The home must have handrails, grab bars, doorways and corridors which accommodate permited mobility devices, such as walkers, motorized scooters, wheel chairs and crutches or canes as the residents require for their safety and allows the residents to move about the home freely. Homes serving
individuals in wheelchairs must have 60 inches by 60 inches of turning radius in all areas meant to be accessible to thern, including but not limited to the bedroom, kitchen, living room, entrances and exits, and at least one bathroom.
iii. The living room must be large enough to accommodate individuals without overcrowding. Homes with three (3) to five (5) individuals who reside there and receive care must provide at least 120 square feet of living room space.
Homes with six (6) individuals who reside there and receive care must provide at least 150 square feet ofliving room space.
iv. The home must provide a comfortable dining area which is properly equipped and adequate in size for the number of individuals who reside there and receive care. The dining area shall be adequate to seat all individuals who reside there and receive care at the same meal seating. Homes with three (3) to five individuals who reside there and receive care must have at least 80 square feet allocated for a dining room. Homes with six (6) individuals who reside there and receive care must have at least 100 square feet allocated for a dining room.
v. The home must provide a fenced and accessible outdoor space for individuals who reside there and receive care.
2. Bedrooms or Private Living Spaces
i. Bedrooms or private living spaces must have at least 100 square feet of usable floor space per individual who resides there and receives care.
3. Bathroom Facilities
i. At least one (1) functional toilet and lavatory must be provided for each four (4) occupants, and at least one bathing or showering facility must be provided for each (6) occupants. Occupants include persons who reside there and receive care, care providers, and other persons living in the home.
ii. A home serving a person dependent upon a wheelchair or scooter for mobility must have at least one (1) bathroom that perrnits the person to use all bathroom fixtures easily and independently where able. The bathroom must meet the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design set forth by the United States Department of Justice.
Home Design Spacing Requirements Summary Table
4. Off-Street Parking
i. Homes must meet the requirernents for Off-Street Parking found in Section 4-
2 "Off-Street Parking Requirements for all Areas except Central Business
District (CBD)" of this ordinance.
A summary of example required parking spaces for Off-Street Parking is provided below.
SECTION II. That the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance is amended by adding to Section 4 (Off-Street Parking and Loading) as shown below:
4-2 Off Street Parking Requirements for all Areas except Central Business District (CBD)
Personal Care Homes with six (6) or less individuals who reside there and receive care => One (l) space for each three (3) individuals who reside there and receive care, one (1) space for an on-site care provided, and one (1) space for visitors.
SECTION III. That the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance is amended by adding to Section 26-1 (Special Exceptions) as shown below:
(h) Family personal care home subject to the following criteria:
(4) A family personal care home must meet the requirements set forth in
Section 28-F Personal Care Homes of this ordinance.
The Marshall Square, a retirement resort in Columbia County, has being occupied for more than six months with about 80 seniors. A fire that took the life of one of its occupants occurred early in the morning of June 2. The Richmond County Commission mentioned the accident just before the vote, the same day, to add more regulations to the family personal care homes industry in Augusta.