Planning Commission tackles personal care homes for Morgan

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By Nick Nunn staff writer

The Morgan County Planning Commission heard a request for a text amendment that would change definitions and use requirements regarding various types of personal care establishments for both the Morgan County Zoning Ordinance and the City of Rutledge Zoning Ordinance. Morgan County Planning Director Chuck Jarrell said that the reason for the proposed changes is so that the county and Rutledge can update their ordinance language to more closely match the recently-changed state definitions and requirements. Jarrell said that many changes were incorporated into the proposed amendments “by reference” to the state code, and that the proposed amendments are “more stringent” than the state code in that they limit “the number of people per room and number of people per toilet/bathing facility” to a lower number. The staff report states that there are three categories addressed that were not previously – hospice, family violence shelter, and private homecare provider – and three categories that are not included in the amendments – residential mental health facilities for youth and children, child caring institutions, and narcotic treatment programs – which effectively prohibits those types of facilities within the county. Excepting differences in the sections to be amended by the application, the alterations to the definitions and specific standards are virtually identical in the applications for the Morgan County Zoning Ordinance and the City of Rutledge Zoning Ordinance. There are also differences in the applications regarding zoning districts that each type of personal care is allowed in. The proposed amendments for the Morgan County Zoning Ordinances replace definitions for several personal care establishments, including family day care homes, group day care homes, childcare learning centers, personal care homes, assisted living communities, nursing homes, intermediate care homes, and hospice care.

Additionally, the applications list proposed regulations for family day care homes and group day care homes; childcare learning centers; personal care homes; assisted living communities, nursing homes, and intermediate care homes; wellness retreats; community living arrangements; and group residential facilities. The commission considered a text amendment request to add a definition for an Inn to the City of Rutledge’s Zoning Ordinance. The amendment would define inns as “a building or buildings with lodging for up to eight guest rooms offered to the public for compensation, which may include kitchen facilities,” and distinguishes between inns and bed and breakfasts, which require that the owner occupy the building.

Jarrell added that the Rutledge ordinance would not allow events to take place at inns, unlike the Madison definition, which the language for the Rutledge was based on. An additional text amendment to the Rutledge Zoning Ordinance regarding event facilities, including a definition of event facilities and regulations for their use, was discussed. The staff report said that the proposed amendment is “similar to the use and regulations found in the Morgan County Zoning Ordinance,” which was added in 2011 to make sure that “laws related to building codes, ADA, noise, trash, lighting, alcoholic beverages and food safety” were being observed. Is also notes that event facility ordnances only apply to events being held for compensation and that personal gatherings, church events, and non-profit events do not fall under this set of ordinances.

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