Assisted living project endorsed, sent to supervisors in Buckingham

Published 6:30 pm Monday, October 30, 2023

In rural counties like Buckingham, it can be difficult to find certain services close by. After the public hearing at the Planning Commission meeting, Buckingham is one step closer to getting an adult home in New Canton.

Jessie Woodson-Johnson of CWJ Properties LLC brought her request to the planning commission to receive a special use permit to own and operate an adult home/assisted living facility at 3781 Petersville Church Road in New Canton. Woodson-Johnson and her husband, Lonnie, plan to run this facility in a four-bedroom modular on the property. 

During the public hearing, no one signed up but an email was read from the owner of the property across the street who had some concerns. This property owner does not live on the land as it is currently used for forestry. 

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The main concern in the email was how rural the area is to have an assisted living facility located there and not have one closer to town. The concern was especially in the case of emergency services. At the previous meeting, Woodsen-Johson disclosed that the location is 15 minutes away from the Central Virginia Community Health Center, 18 minutes from the rescue building in Avonia and 15 minutes from the Dilwyn Rescue Squad. 

“The person will be transported either by us calling the emergency department and depending on how close they are to us if it’s necessary, we will take them to the hospital,” said Woodson-Johnson. “If the Central Virginia Community Health Center is open during that time we will transport them there. Not only will we do that, but we will call the family members as well.”

This proposed home will be for elderly adults who are able to feed, bathe and dress themselves with the facility there to provide shelter, food, laundry services and help them with their medication. This means that these are self-sufficient elderly adults who need some support but do not have major health issues that need constant attention.

A standard wait time 

During the discussion, the planning commission member agreed that this wait time is pretty standard across the county. 

“We’re all quite a distance away from emergency care,” said Joyce Goodman. “There are limits when you live in a rural area to get emergency care, so I don’t even see that as a concern for your facility. I do understand that it’s an adult care facility. Not a memory care facility and not a nursing home.”

Expansion was another concern. Since the facility will start under social services regulations, only three residents will be allowed until Woodsen-Johson seeks a license from the state to expand. The license will allow for two more people bringing it to five at that location. 

According to Woodson-Johnson, there are no plans for expansion at the moment. However, the expansion will need to happen outside of the one-acre plot this particular special use permit is for on adjacent land she owns. This means that when Woodson-Johnson looks to expand by building an additional facility she will have to do this process again and another public hearing will take place.

The planning commission voted unanimously to pass this on to the board of supervisors to vote on another public hearing.