Planning commission does not recommend group home permit

By Kayleigh Rahn
A company that provides residence for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities has filed two special use permit requests to establish two new group homes in Tuscola neighborhoods. However, the request has been met with resistance from potential neighbors.

Following the Thursday, Oct. 25 hearing regarding the permit requests, the city’s planning commission–which heard from nearly a dozen residents opposed to the business entering their neighborhoods–voted 6-1 against the recommendation of the permit to the city council. Commission member Brad Bennett was the lone vote in favor of the permit.

The two properties in consideration are located at 916 N. Center St. (just inside the Parkview subdivision) and 15 Raymond Dr. Marion County Horizon Center recently purchased the properties and began renovations that would better serve up to four adults with specific needs related to their disabilities.

The formal City Council will consider the planning commission’s recommendation against the request during an upcoming meeting. The council’s vote is the formal decision in the matter.

During Thursday’s public hearing, Marion County Horizon Center’s residential director Heather Houser said the company is hopeful to establish four-bed group homes for individuals with a variety of physical or intellectual disabilities who are referred to her program.

“The houses will never be more than four people that live in them,” Houser said. “We run smaller homes so they are more like community homes for the individuals that we serve. The individuals that we serve have developmental disabilities–autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation–what’s now called intellectual disability, but most people don’t know what that is or don’t correlate the two. The folks that we serve want to live in the community, they want to have a normal life. They want to be happy; they want to go to work; they want to shop in their community; they want to do outings in their community.”

The full story can be found in the Wednesday, Oct. 31 edition of The Tuscola Journal.

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