City Council to host hearing on group home

Published 6:08 pm Monday, February 10, 2020

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The LaGrange City Council will host a public hearing Tuesday night at its regular council meeting to hear comments about a special-use permit for a group treatment facility on Adamson Street.

According to city documents, Jack Dallas of LaGrange is applying for the permit for a structure at 1702 Adamson Street intending to help recently released inmates transition back into society.

Documents say the owner of the site has recently applied for rezoning for the property to be used as a multi-family structure as a boarding house of apartments but was denied by the council.

At a previous council work session, Leigh Threadgill, strategic initiatives manager with the city, said the LaGrange Board of Planning and Zoning Appeals had recommended denial of the special use permit. The city council has yet to decide on the special use permit, and the result of the zoning board is just a recommendation.

“After talking through the application, the concern was raised that it really isn’t a group treatment facility,” Threadgill said. “It’s not really established that way.”

Staff reports say the facility would offer a different option for recently released incarcerated men who experienced difficulty living together and receiving supportive services. The application said the facility would provide residential services, living arrangements, life skills and community support to help the individuals mold back into everyday life.

City staff also reported the property would be used to provide housing for six registered sex offenders.

Threadgill said the structure operated as a duplex with the former owner, which would be a permitted use. She said if it’s used that way again, the owner can rent it to whomever because the city doesn’t get involved in who’s renting to who. However, it can’t be used as a boarding use or a six-plex due to zoning laws.

The building is 974 square feet and was purchased by the applicant to relocate six residents, according to city documents.

Also, on Tuesday night, the city will get its first look at an ordinance to modify one-way traffic on Marshall Street and a portion of Bacon Street near LaGrange High School.

Mark Kostial of the LaGrange Police Department has recently recommended to the council to flip the traffic direction on Marshall and West Bacon Streets. He said this could alleviate traffic gridlock between 2:40 p.m. and 3:20 p.m. on school days at the high school.

Currently, access to LaGrange High School is typically through Ridley Avenue, turning left on Highland Avenue, then left on Marshall and left again on West Bacon, taking motorists back to Ridley.

The proposed plan by Kostial was to flip the two one-way streets, meaning motorists would travel west on West Bacon Street and north on Marshall. He said students would exit LaGrange High School to leave on Highway Avenue, which would remain a two-way street. The section of Highland closed near the high school due to construction of the new athletic facility doesn’t impact the police department’s plans, Kostial said.

He said when looking at traffic flow in 2018, the police department found that there could be anywhere from 65 to 70 vehicles near the high school at the end of the school day. Kostial said a more recent study found that there could be anywhere between 95 and 100 cars in the same area now.

He said that traffic is blocking about 15 residents on Highland Avenue from leaving or entering their driveways during those times.

The council is unlikely to take any action on the matter Tuesday as city code says it must read an ordinance twice before voting unless it suspends the rules, which requires a council majority vote.