Group care facility causing controversy for Chesterfield neighbors

Posted at 12:07 AM, Dec 13, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-13 00:07:40-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - Neighbors living in a Chesterfield County neighborhood told CBS 6 they have concerns about a group care facility on their street.

The story was first reported by the Chesterfield Observer, but CBS 6 did some more digging. The facility is called Landmarks of Love, which is a service for adults who can't live on their own because of physical or mental limitations.

However, in July the Chesterfield Planning Department received an anonymous zoning complaint regarding the facility.

Darla Orr, with the planning department said after looking into the complaint they discovered it did not have the proper licensing.

"In order for them to be in that area they have to have a separate zoning approval," said Orr.

CBS 6's Chelsea Rarrick asked Orr how the facility was able to operate without the department being aware of the proper permit. Orr said the complaint officers enforce an ordinance on a complaint basis.

Orr said a residential group home is allowed to be in a neighborhood under the proper requirements. However, a group care facility like Landmarks of Love is not permitted in a residential district unless there is approval.

After the complaint, Orr said Landmarks of Love filed for a zoning application to get a conditional use for the group care facility. The application is currently pending with the planning commission.

CBS 6 contacted Barabara Jones who filed the application. She said she didn't know they were operating without the proper permit and would call us back.

In Jones' application it states that the program will have minimal impact on the surrounding neighbors.

When CBS 6 didn't hear back, we went to the home to talk to Jones. We were then later told by someone at the house to get off the property.

Neighbors said they believe that people unable to live independently should get the care they need, but said it should not be in a neighborhood like theirs.

Orr said the staff is not supportive of the application, and a commissioner does intend to defer the plan.

A public hearing is set for Tuesday of next week regarding the issue.