Residents concerned about Pleasant Township property


By Dedra Cordle

Staff Writer

The sale of a house does not typically raise objections, yet the recent transfer of ownership on a lot in the Oakhurst subdivision has some neighbors in this Pleasant Township community asking for zoning changes.

Concerns were raised in September when residents of Oakhurst learned that a Chicago-based company called Capgrow Holdings had purchased the property at 3340 W. Pebble Beach Road.

According to its website, Capgrow Partners leases their properties to other businesses or entities in order to “provide safe, secure and appropriate housing for individuals with behavioral health needs.”

Correspondence inquires to Capgrow Partners by The Messenger were not returned as of press time.

Feeling as if this would not be the proper use for a residential home, neighbors attended the Sept. 26 township board of trustees meeting to ask that something be done to stop a possible residential care facility from coming to their neighborhood.

“We don’t know anything about their plans,” stated Georgia Johnson at the meeting.

Johnson, along with many other residents, requested that the trustees establish their own zoning board.

“Maybe then we could have some control over what goes on in the township,” she said.

Shortly thereafter, the trustees held a special meeting in mid-October to discuss zoning changes and the property on Pebble Beach Road.

According to township attorney Peter Griggs, there is little that can be done to address these issues. He said the establishment of a township zoning board would not stop residential care facilities or similar facilities from coming to neighborhoods. He then cited state and federal law as the main reasons as to why townships cannot ban the use of residential care facilities in residential communities.

“Townships just do not have the ability to prohibit these types of facilities from going in,” Griggs said.

However, he did try to ease some concerns by stating that the township does have the authority to make sure these facilities are following the law.

“The township will do everything in its power to make sure they are dotting their i’s and crossing their t’s,” he said.

Matthew Brown, the planning administrator with the Franklin County economic development and planning department, said they will also do their part to make sure any facilities follow the law.

“They have to follow the same laws as any homeowner,” he said.

Griggs said what makes this particular issue so complicated is that they do not know what Capgrow Partners intends to do with the property.

“They have not filed with the county at all so we are just speculating as to what may go in there,” he said.

However, he added they have a “good idea as to what may go in there” based on the company that purchased the property.

Griggs said that should they lease the property for the sole use of a residential care facility, they will be bound by state and federal law under use of residential care facility regulations.

He tried to ease concerns further by stating what the speculated residential care facility cannot be.

“It cannot be a hospital for the mentally ill, nor can it be a hospice,” he said. “It is not a methadone treatment facility and it is not a foster home.”

Some residents said that did little to ease their concerns.

“So you’re telling us we don’t have any rights as to what will go on there,” asked one resident.

“In respect to prohibiting a residential care facility, no,” said Griggs, “you don’t have any rights.”

Resident Tom Davis said what they can do as a community is organize and make sure that laws are being followed should a residential care facility come to Oakhurst.

“We all know the state is not going to regulate this in a way we want them to,” Davis said, “so we have to share information amongst each other and if we notice a violation, we tell the trustees or county.”

He also said they should be courteous to whomever may end up living there.

“We don’t know these people or what they have been through,” he said.

Tamra Beaty concurred.

“It seems we are all assuming this will be some horrible thing,” she said.

Beaty added that while it could be, she stressed the importance of keeping an open mind.

“Let’s not make ours a community that puts up a defensive posture,” she said. “It might be a really wonderful thing, so let’s try not to just assume the worst.”

The trustees ended the special meeting by requesting the email addresses of those in attendance in order to keep them abreast of any filings or information about the property.










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