Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Council Considers Zoning Change for Group Homes

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Council Considers Zoning Change for Group Homes

Article excerpt

The University City Council has introduced a proposed ordinance to allow zoning for group homes.

The proposal received a first reading during a recent council meeting. The council is expected to vote on the measure next week.

The purpose of the rezoning is to bring the current code into compliance with Missouri regulations on facilities for housing the handicapped.

As part of the rezoning, occupancy permits will be changed to accommodate group homes operating in University City. The proposed zoning would allow no more than eight occupants, plus two house parents, in each group home and the facilities would be required to be more than 1,000 feet apart. A special-use permit could be sought for homes housing more than eight people.

An attorney representing the Oxford House group homes, Ann Lever, said the eight-person limit was discriminatory because the group's homes operate most efficiently with at least 10 residents.

"It takes approximately 10-12 people to rent the house and provide enough money to pay back the loan that was needed to start the house," she said.

Mayor Janet Majerus said University City is sensitive to group homes and to the special needs of Oxford House.

"There will be things in the law to handle group homes and any special needs they may have," Majerus said. …

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