LaGrange wants to require group homes to get a license

By Roslyn Giles  - email | bio

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Twin Cedars Youth Services in LaGrange is currently regulated by the State of Georgia through the Department of Family and Children Services. All group homes with six or more clients are state regulated.  If LaGrange passes an ordinance, Twin Cedars will need a city license as well.

"The city has a right to license homes that do the type of work we do, I don't see it as a problem," says Mike Angstadt, Executive Director, Twin Cedars Youth Services.

Mayor Jeff Lukken says the ordinance is two-fold.  It will address zoning and regulation of all group homes. "We found particular problems popping up in neighborhoods with higher crime rates, some safety concerns and we realize it's probably not a good idea to have them scattered throughout the city," says Lukken.

Group homes will be located in commercial or Industrial areas of the city. "Those clients where the clients have been referred to by Juvenile Justice or the Department of Corrections, all other homes will be maintained by the same zoning in the City of LaGrange," added Lukken.

Existing group homes will not have to relocate; their locations will be grand fathered in. Their only requirement will be to obtain a city license as the city seeks to craft a more organized way of locating group homes.

The Mayor is hearing from professionals and managers of group homes to get their input on what should or should not be in the ordinance.  Lukken says it's important to hear from them in terms of the direction they should go.

A public hearing is scheduled for January 12, 2010 to address the zoning issue.

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