May 16, 2013
PDT Staff Writer
At Monday’s Portsmouth City Council meeting, several residents of the Willow Way area protested the location of a residential home for people with disabilities, not on the grounds of those disabilities, but on the grounds that the neighborhood is zoned for single-family dwellings.
Now, Portsmouth city officials have been given 10 days in which to object to the move or allow the process to continue. In a letter from Kelly Miller, Assistant Deputy Director of the Office of Provider Standards and Review, city officials are told that Scioto Residential Services, Inc. has applied for an issuance of a license for four persons with developmental disabilities in a residential setting at 3008 Willow Way. It goes on to say the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities will inspect this facility for compliance with this Department’s licensure standards.
“As required by Section 5123.19 of the Ohio Revised Code, you may send any written comments regarding the issuance of this license to this office no later than May 30, 2013,” Miller says in her correspondence. “The Director shall make written findings concerning the comments and his decision regarding the issuance of the license. If the Director does not receive written comments from any notified local officials within the specified time, the process for the issuance of the license shall continue.”
The residents of Willow Way say they have been told if they pursue the issue, they will be taken to court on federal Civil Rights violations. The members of that community say they don’t have the resources to fight the charges in court, and are asking Council to intervene based on zoning regulations.
“I definitely understand your questions and your concerns,” Portsmouth Mayor David Malone said. “We had a meeting. You came to our office and discussed. And I looked into some of the questions that you have, and made sure that we were doing what we were supposed to do as far as enforcing whatever laws, and zoning issues that are on the books. I am confident that the process that is taking place has been followed to the ‘T’.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.