Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Home RSS

Poland Village continues gathering info on group homes

December 26, 2018
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

Poland Village Council heard from a special guest speaker on Dec. 18. The City of Warren's Law Director Gregory Hicks addressed the council with information on group homes. The Village has been looking at what a municipality can do and can't do when it comes to regulating group homes.

Hicks said it all goes back to 1988 and a Federal Housing Act amendment.

"The act was intended to prohibit regulations to discriminate against a person with a disability," Hicks told council.

He said the act applies to zoning regulations as well. Zoning rules can be backe up as long as they don't ignore the Federal Fair Housing Act and a person with a disability.

"This act does consider recovering drug and alcohol addicts as people with a disability," Hicks said.

One thing Hicks did recommend was having a required registration of non-owner occupied homes. The Village could require licensing of the homes as well as annual inspections. This type of registration would be protecting the disabled tenants.

"Registration of non-occupied dwellings is a good tool to have," Hicks said.

He said Warren has its own health department that does the inspections and makes sure the homes are up to code. Having the department also gives the tenants a place to call for violations.

Poland Village Solicitor Attorney Joseph R. Macejko said, "If the county health department was contracted with us, they could do the inspections."

Council woman Linda Srnec questioned Hicks about increased traffic on a residential street because of group homes. Hicks said it is all about standards for everyone. If you limited traffic on a group home because of six cars coming and going, then the Village would have to limit families when six children grow up and get driver's license while still living at home. Both situations add six cars to the traffic and to limit one over the other would be in violation.

"You have to have the same standards across the board," Hicks said. "Is a van coming three times a day to transport someone to therapy realy a burden on the neighborhood."

Diana Drive resident Terry Fiechtenberger was concerned about a concentration of group homes in one area.

"Poland Village is not looking to discriminate with people who want to live in Poland," Fiechtenberger said. "Our neighborhood is residential and this (referring to group homes) is a business making money in our neighborhood."

Hicks was thanked by all those present for the vast amount of knowledge he presented on group homes.

In other business:

Council approved a resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into the Mahoning CountyHazard Mitigation Plan.

Council approved an ordinance establishing the position of part time laborer for the street department retroactive to February 1, 2018, and declaring an emergency.

Zoning Inspector Tim Clavin said there is a growing problem with vehicles parking in the grass in the north end of town. He said the Village has an ordinance prohibiting vehicles from being parked in the grass.



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web