Board takes aim at township group home locations

By Shelby Stewart
Staff Writer
Brandon Twp.- The township board of trustees had their first reading of four ordinance amendments pertaining to adult foster care facilities during their meeting Monday night.
The change comes after residents raised concern that another group home may open on Sleepy Hollow. The current group home on the street is under scrutiny due to housing, and later removing, two registered sex offenders recently released from prison back in May. Complaints were filed with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, and while they agreed that was not legal, since the two were removed and since the owner told LARA that it is not the intent of the facility to house persons recently released from a correctional facility, there was not violation. Township Supervisor Kathy Thurman filed an appeal with LARA on their report, which was filed within a valid timeline.

The ordinances, sections 46-204 (b) (3) Rural Estate District, permitted uses, and 46-205 (b) (2) Single Family Residential (R-1 A &R-1 B), permitted uses would read that adult foster care homes for fewer than seven residents, foster family group homes for fewer than seven residents and family child care homes, licensed by the state, would not be located within 500 feet of each other as measured linearly between the closest property lines.
“We had no case law to support the 1,500 foot separation, so we were going to take it out completely,” said Thurman. “But now he was able to find some case law to support this, so that is why we have 500 feet.”
In addition, ordinances, sections 46-204 (c) (2) Rural Estate District, special uses and 46-205 (c) (2) Single Family Residential (R-1 A &R-1 B), special uses will both read that two small adult foster care homes that house between seven and 12 residents cannot be located within 1,500 feet of each other and of any similar facility described in 218 PA 1979 section (3)(4)(a-h), as measured linearly between the closest property lines.
“We have a bit more control on these ones,” said trustee Scott Broughton. “It can’t rely back on the Larkin case.”
While no current adult foster care facilities in the township should be affected, it is uncertain who or what facilities would be grandfathered in under the amendments..
“I don’t have a firm answer on that,” said Thurman.