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Group home concentration

Published (3/7/2008)
By Patty Ostberg
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The House Housing Policy and Finance and Public Health Finance Division tabled a bill March 4 that would have given counties the authority on whether to contract with housing services based on best practices regarding geographical locations of group homes.

Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley), sponsor of HF2324, said the concern came from counties where a concentration of group housing, consisting of several homes on a block or in a cul-de-sac, has the potential to change the character of a residential neighborhood. County attorneys have told municipalities that denying a contract to an already approved housing service because of too many group homes in one location could result in a lawsuit.

Rep. Rob Eastlund (R-Isanti) questioned the meaning of best practices and geographic location, which are not defined in the bill.

Saying changes should be made in by the division before moving forward, Rep. Carol McFarlane (R-White Bear Lake) successfully moved to table the bill.

Admitting “the bill language may need to be further defined,” Winkler vowed to work with the concerned parties.

A companion bill, SF2125, sponsored by Sen. Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park) awaits action by the Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee.

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