Archive for Thursday, August 3, 2006

Neighbors again succeed in blocking group home

August 3, 2006

Leavenworth County commissioners unanimously denied a request for a special use permit to establish a group home and school for troubled teens.

Representatives of House of Hope, an organization that had hoped to build on 40 acres near the intersection of McIntyre and Wolcott, southeast of Lansing, urged commissioners to approve their permit in a meeting Thursday, July 27.

The property's owner, former Leavenworth County resident Mildred Stuckey, had offered to donate the acreage to House of Hope, a faith-based center.

Chris Dunn, the county's director of planning and zoning, said this was the third attempt Stuckey had made in the past 24 years to establish a similar home on the property.

"This is not a use that the neighborhood desires and there has been a valid protest petition filed by the neighbors," Dunn said. "It is one of the most complete protest petitions I've seen - 82.9 percent of the surrounding property owners have signed the petition."

Representatives of House of Hope spoke for about 45 minutes, followed by a presentation from neighbors who live near the proposed House of Hope site.

Neighbors expressed concern about traffic, supervision of the youths, safety and what type of sewer treatment would be installed on the property.

Dan Butler, who lived near the proposed House of Hope site, spoke on behalf of many of his neighbors. He said he had researched House of Hope projects in other states.

"These young folks are coming in with a lot of baggage," Butler said. "We are not a mean-spirited group in Leavenworth. : We are concerned about protecting the youth in this region, but at the same time, we think that this brings an awful lot of baggage into the community."

Commission chairman Dean Oroke said the commission would base its decision on facts of law, "and not make a decision based on the popularity of the people here or the emotional issues."

After reviewing guidelines that are considered when deciding whether to issue special-use permits, Oroke moved to deny the special use permit.

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