Taylor residents oppose the idea of Wellery Farms within city limits

Published 3:22 pm Friday, November 19, 2021

Taylor residents are less than happy about the idea of a wellness and treatment center taking root in their backyard and told York Developments Principal Paige York and Dr. James Han just as much in a Thursday night community meeting.

The audience gathered in the Plein Air Chapel to hear and discuss a possible plan for Welley Farms Wellness & Recovery Community, a 130-acre facility that will house people recovering from substance use and mental health disorders.

York said Taylor was chosen because of the healing and natural environment. She shared that her late brother Bennett York Jr. attended top quality, yet very clinical treatment centers and she wanted to provide a place with “soul” and warmth.

York was contacted by David Magee, author and founder of the William Magee institute in honor of his son who battled with substance use, and they discussed developing a facility to prevent more tragedy.

“Our mission is to save and transform lives,” said York. “Call it what you want— a rehab or addiction center— but we’re talking about lives here.”

Wellery Farms would feature farm-house architecture, 16-unit communal dwellings and 30 private cabins to hold a maximum of 150 patients and a fully fenced and gated community. According to York, the massive project assumes an initial investment of $20 million dollars.

The wellness and recovery center would take only voluntary patients aged 18 and older to participate in customized holistic and therapeutic programs and amenities like group therapy and counseling, community gardens, recreational sports courts. 

It is estimated that the facility will create 45 jobs in the first year with a payroll of $2.3 million, 56 jobs in the second year with a payroll of $2.8 million and 75 jobs in the third year with a payroll of $3.6 million.

The majority of people in the chapel agreed that the facility would be an ideal place for patients, but said they would like it elsewhere. Wellery Farms sits immediately next to the Taylor Greene subdivision and is surrounded by single-family residences. 

Security is a major concern among those who oppose the location. Meeting attendees said they have heard of the numerous reports from Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center of escaped patients and calls for law enforcement assistance to treatment centers in the area. 

“We were very open to Stonewater,” said one audience member. “We have been burned and after doing some research, I just haven’t been led to believe this is going to be any different.”

Residents also raised concerns about the impact on property values. Wellery Farms sits in the center of lands owned by local property owners and they are worried that the development would negatively affect their prices, especially if the project were to go under. York was unable to give the audience an estimated value increase or decrease during the meeting.

York said she was sad to see people hardened to the idea of the facility taking root in Taylor, but she will continue to move this project forward with optimism and transparency to the public.

“We have to be extremely sensitive and to come together to talk about these issues of mental health and substance use disorders,” said York. “This was a tough night but I welcome that. Stigmas are challenging to overcome, but it’s just imperative that we come together as a larger community with open minds and open hearts and a vision to make a better tomorrow for future generations.”

York Developments is set to go before the Lafayette County Planning Commission on Monday, Nov. 22, at 5:30 p.m. in the Chancery Court boardroom to propose the Wellery Farms Wellness & Recovery Center.