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Bel Air To Allow Only Non-Profit Group Homes

Town residents have demanded the town examine a growing number of group recovery homes.

A will narrow the definition of families permitted under one roof to include only nonprofit group recovery homes.

Current development regulations permit all group recovery homes as long as they include eight people or fewer. With this number of people, the group home qualifies as a family under the current law.

A proposed ordinance would amend Bel Air development regulations and limit these residential treatment facilities not only by number, but also to include only nonprofit, private facilities. For-profit facilities would no longer be permitted in town.

A public hearing is scheduled to take place .

Town officials say the proposed change is designed to make town regluations the same as those at the state level.

During the past few months, residents have consistently made appearances at town meetings to encourage town officials to take action and within a narrow radius in town.

The concerns surrounding group homes include a diminished small town feel where people know their neighbors and a negative impact to property values.

While town officials have said the is not related to these concerns, it could potentially impact the issue, although in what ways remains unclear.

told Patch in June that he is not sure how many—if any—of the approximately seven group homes in Bel Air are for-profit organizations.

In addition to the public hearing, a vote on the development change is likely, according to the agenda.

The Bel Air Board of Commissioners plans to hold its regularly scheduled meeting at 7:30 pm. July 16 in .

What are your thoughts on this issue? Will you participate in the public hearing tonight?

Chas24 July 16, 2012 at 09:05 PM
I don't think this is going to do a lot of restricting. From my understanding, the owners/officers can just pay themselves salaries and reduce the net profit down to zero anyway. There is more disclosure and hassle to being a 501c3, but if the operators of these places think it's worth it - this law would not stop them.
Judy July 16, 2012 at 09:09 PM
If we are dreaming....Possibly we as a caring and compassionate community should consider planning and building a place where people with disabilities both physical and mental and/or in recovery could live together, If proximity to each other is important for better services and a sense of "community" within the community,a Non-profit facility or development could meet the special needs of the people it houses,with a Common grounds between the homes, shuttled transportation to Doctors, rehab facilities, trained staff and security on site,etc. Visual recognition could also be possible so that safety was maintained. A place that would help transition people into healthy and productive lives. just thinking...
Lisa July 16, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Most families have someone in their families struggling with addiction, mental illness, or physical rehabilitation. No one questions them. It's time to stop the discrimination against individuals who need help just because they don't have families who can house them. They are no different than the rest of us.
Judy July 16, 2012 at 10:11 PM
I think we've gotten off the point. Finding a good fit for everyone is important. Having struggled with a family member with a mental illness I worry about the impact on the "neighbors". Respect for the needs of homeowners is just as important as finding her a safe environment to live in.
friedman July 17, 2012 at 09:23 PM
There is a unique ness in Bel Air conerning recovery houses, this is a strong hold of recovery as I speak of personal experience. There needs to be accountability from all sides to protect the town an t protect those hmes. I believe that there lies a chance here to build a contructve and benificial relationship between the town and these recovery programs,standards need to be defined, the participants in these programs should give back to the community as part of their fundamental values. Bel Air should be proud of their status as a unique small town that has savd and changed so many lifes. I amgrateful to this town, the residents and the amosphere should be preservd, set the bar high , but realistically attainable.Pesonally I would like to see more activity from the recovery homes in community services.

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