By Shelby Stewart
Brandon Twp.- On Monday night, the township board voted 6-0 to approve a moratorium on new adult foster care facilities within the township until they can revise the current ordinance. Bob Marshall was absent.
“I think this will show that we’re serious about what we’re doing,” said Kathy Thurman, township supervisor. “They’re regulated by the state and there’s only certain things we can do, and we’re going to try what we can and hopefully this moratorium will help.”
The moratorium will place a temporary ban on new adult foster care facilities in the township. The push for something to be put in place came from residents who live near the group home located on Sleepy Hollow.
Following the sale of the Sleepy Hollow residence last year neighbors alerted officials that two convicted sex offenders on parole moved into the home. Then on May 9 the two sex offenders were removed from the property by the Michigan Department of Corrections
“Since you guys came to us and told us what happened in May, I have spent days and days and days, and I don’t mind because I do think it’s one of the most important topics in our commnity right now,” said trustee Dana DePalma. “It is not good, and I want to help get this fixed. So I have been making this one of my top priorities.”
The home had previously housed registered sex offenders, and though they have been moved, the residents fear that another home will open in the area because some neighboring homes are up for sale.
“This specific topic is probably the most important thing I’ve worked on as a trustee,” said trustee Scott Broughton. “It’s also the thing that’s consumed most of my time as a trustee. We’re doing everything we can within the law. I know that you’d like us to just throw these people out, but we can’t. We have to follow the law. It’s not just Michigan law, it’s federal law, and we can’t rewrite the law. So we’re doing what we can.”
Currently, there is talk of an ordinance amendment that would not allow group homes within 1,500 feet of each other, but it must first go through the planning commission and two readings by the township board.
“The date that I received from the building department is Oct. 8 is the tentative date that it should be in effect if everything goes smoothly,” said Thurman.
At the special meeting of Aug. 1, the board presented the findings of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory affairs investigation, which found no violations of the group home on Sleepy Hollow. According to Thurman, an appeal has been filed.
By Shelby Stewart