The Fayetteville City Council will hold a public hearing at its regular meeting Thursday to amend the ordinance to include new restrictions on nursing homes, places where inmates nearing release live before returning to the community. The new restrictions, if passed by the council, would limit the number of people allowed to live in the halfway house. Specific restrictions will depend on its proximity to single-family and multi-family homes.
A public hearing will take place during a meeting at the Fayetteville City Hall. The meeting starts at 19:00 on Thursday.
According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, halfway shelters provide employment counseling, job placement, financial management assistance, and other programs for inmates nearing release as they reintegrate into their community.
After a public hearing, the board will either accept or reject the amendments or defer consideration of the issue to a later date.
If the Council adopts the amendments, the ordinance will:
- Change the official name of the halfway house to “social reintegration center”. According to the text of the proposed amendments, the new name also falls under the new legal definition:
“A guarded facility that provides temporary housing and support services to persons moving out of an institution or place of detention, or alternatively to such an institution, where residents receive supervision, rehabilitation and counseling to help them adapt to society and achieve personal independence. . Residents may receive services for purposes that include, but are not limited to: (a) recovery from addiction or mental illness (disability); (b) re-entry into society under conditions alternative to imprisonment, including, but not limited to, provisional release, release from work, or probation (non-disability) programs; or (c) help with family or school adjustment problems that require special attention (not disabilities). Formerly known as the “Halfway House”.
- Limit centers to 30 residents within half a mile of a single-family zoning area; limit to 40 residents within 500 feet of a multi-unit zoning area; limit to the most restrictive amount if the center is within a given radius of both the single-family and multi-family zoning areas.
- Restrict centers to mixed-use and commercial zoning areas.
The amended ordinance will also change the legal definition of a halfway house.
Currently, the ordinance does not require any restrictions on the number of residents. Halfway houses can now also be built in mixed use areas, public commercial, mixed residential areas 5, downtown, restricted commercial and office areas. More information about what can be built in these zoning areas can be found here.
Halfway houses will still require a special use permit process. This process requires Midway Homes, including various other types of developments, to go through an application process that will require the developer to provide details of the development and consider any potential negative impacts on properties in the vicinity.
As part of the special use permit process, the approval of any community reintegration center they name if the amended amendment is passed will continue to be subject to public hearings by both the City Zoning Commission and the City Council.
Residents wishing to speak during the public hearing must register by 5:00 pm Thursday. Residents can register by calling 910-433-1312, faxing 910-433-1980, emailing [email protected], or using the city’s online form, which can be found here.
When registering, residents must indicate whether they support or oppose the amended ordinance.
Controversy around the halfway house
Before the city introduced the amended ordinance, controversy erupted around the halfway house in Fayetteville.
In 2020, the city council denied permission to build a halfway house on Kane Road, near Bragg Boulevard. However, last March, the North Carolina Court of Appeals forced the issue back to the city council for approval, CityView reported. Later that month, the city council approved a permit for the special use of a nursing home.
Some residents of the area oppose the halfway house. In opposition to this, a Facebook page has been created, and there is also a petition on change.org.
The Midway House will be owned and operated by Kentucky-based Dismas Charities Inc. The organization, which has facilities in Charlotte and Greensboro, offers education, employment and support services to ex-prisoners, according to its website.
Presentation of the social reintegration center in front of the city council
Ordinance amendments affecting halfway shelters
Appeal to Overturn City Council’s 2020 Decision
Online form for registration for public hearings
Details of the Special Use Authorization Process
List of zoning areas in Fayetteville
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