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Commissioners dont accept group home language
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Proposed amendments to the Barton County zoning regulations, impacting group homes in the county, were not accepted by the Barton County Commission this week and will go back to the Planning Commission.
They could come back to the county commission yet this year, Environmental Manager Judy Goreham said.
Goreham noted the Planning Commission has a meeting early in December, so the issue could come back to the county commission before the end of December.
At issue are changes that impact legal language involving group homes.
As presented, the change states: “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.”
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.
Commissioners Don Cates and John Edmonds both expressed concerns about details in the language.
“I do suspect we are casting a broader net than we think we are,” Edmonds commented about the definitions.
County Administrator Richard Boeckman — who is also the county counselor — said he is satisfied that the language in the definition is in keeping with state statutes.
The concerns will be discussed with the Planning Commission and it will be brought back to the county commission.