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City Council votes 5–3 in favor of 2 group homes

By Kayleigh Rahn & William Rahn
The city council during its meeting Monday, Nov. 226 voted 5–3 against the planning commission’s recommendation and has allowed a special use permit for two group homes in Tuscola.

The two properties 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 will better serve up to four adults with specific needs related to their disabilities, although in recent weeks, the request for special use came with push back from neighbors.

With stipulations suggested by Mayor Dan Kleiss that would allow no more than four individuals with intellectual disabilities to reside at the home with 24-hour supervision, both special use permits were approved. City aldermen Danny Cleland, Tim Hoey, Troy Rund, Alan Shoemaker, and Terra Waldrop voted in favor of the permits, while aldermen Scott Day, Dave Slaughter, and Phyllis Truitt voted against both.

Following a 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.

During the October 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.

Concerns from potential neighbors regarding the special use permit covered a variety of topics including that effect the homes could have on surrounding property values and the distaste for establishing a business in residential areas.

Kleiss said Monday that he attended the planning commission meeting, and after hearing concerns from neighbors he listed the three conditions to be added to the special use permit approval.

Prior to the council’s vote, Truitt asked, at the homes that the company currently operates, how often are police called for disturbances.

The full story can be found in the Wednesday, Nov. 28 edition of The Tuscola Journal.


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