Dublin Villager

City Council adopting rules for group homes

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After months of work, Dublin has settled upon rules for group homes that pleases both community members and falls under federal law.

Dublin was contacted last year by residents with concerns community residences, or group homes in which five or more unrelated individuals with disabilities live, would cluster on one street or in one area under current city laws.

Staff brought a solution to council in the spring, but both council and residents agreed it wasn't enough.

"We engaged an expert in the group homes field," Dublin's Assistant Law Director Jennifer Readler told council at an Aug. 15 meeting.

"We talked to an expert who helped prepare the amendments to the law."

Under the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1998 and Ohio Revised Code, Dublin must allow group homes to locate in the city, but amendments approved by council Aug. 25 place a few limitations on them.

"We believe it's unique and will make sure no clustering will occur," Readler said of the amendments.

Under the new legislation, community residences must be at least eight lots away and 660 linear feet from other group homes.

The homes must also be licensed or certified by the state.

The new legislation also addressed the potential for overcrowding at group homes, by requiring at least 70 square feet of floor space in sleeping areas for each person.

Many of the residents who brought concerns to council live within the Mid-Century Neighbors Association and association president Debra Mitchell applauded the changes.

"We're very happy with this outcome," Mitchell said. "It's a very innovative and great solution."

There are currently three group homes in Dublin that care for up to five people, the staff memo to council said.

Other matters

In other council news, new zoning for Bridge Street District land on the east side of the Scioto River was approved last week.

Council members unanimously approved a new zoning district called the BSD Scioto River Neighborhood District that will "provide specific development standards for the Scioto River corridor area of the Bridge Street District," the staff report to council stated.

The new zoning district will allow for apartments, lofts, offices, commercial and retail space with a walkable, urban flavor.

The new zoning district will be applied to 23 parcels of land "generally along the east side of the relocated Riverside Drive, including the existing Bridge Pointe shopping center, the former Wendy's restaurant site at the southeast corner of the Riverside/(state Route) 161 intersection, properties along Dale Drive, the former driving range and Digger and Finch restaurant site, and land along the north side of the future John Shields Parkway," a memo to council stated.

Most of the land is set to be developed by Crawford Hoying as Bridge Park East.

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