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Commissioners accept group home language change

POSTED December 21, 2011 2:52 p.m.
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Proposed amendments to the Barton County zoning regulations, impacting group homes in the county, which were not accepted by the Barton County Commission in November and which were sent back to the Planning Commission were amended and then this week they were approved by the commission..
Environmental Manager Judy Goreham explained the changes were made to issues involving group homes in unincorporated portions of the county.
Information about the definitions was provided by the county, noting: “generally, group homes would be defined as any dwelling occupied by not more than 10 persons, including eight or fewer persons with a disability who need not be related by blood or marriage and not to exceed two staff residents who need not be related by blood or marriage to each other or to the residents of the home, which dwelling is licensed by a regulatory agency of this state, with certain qualifications are as allowable under Kansas statutes.
“Group homes are permitted as set forth in the Barton County zoning code, subject to the qualifications found in K.S.A. 12-736 (c) (1) and (c) (2). 
“A group home may not house a sexually violent predator, as that term is defined in K.S.A. 59-29a02, who is on transitional release, conditional release, or final discharge pursuant to K.S.A. 59-29a11. 
“Group homes housing such persons are not permitted in any zoning district in Barton County. 
“At a December 13, Planning Commission meeting, the words ‘final discharge’ were removed.”
When she first met with the county, Goreham told commissioners the issue was raised because the current zoning regulations did not include an adequate definition of a group home and the restrictions that state regulations place on a group home.
Goreham said the Planning Commission considered the recommendations from the commissioners and its relied also on County Administrator Richard Boeckman, as the county counselor, to provide legal direction in their determinations.

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