The Junction City / Geary County Board of Zoning Appeals have voted 5-0 to grant a conditional use permit for a group home for boys of approximate ages 14 to 17 at 726 West 10th Street.
Carl Taylor of Opportunities Unlimited plans to establish a transitional living placement facility that will serve boys with no other option and where parental rights to them have been severed. He informed the BZA to remain in the home the residents will have to work on a high school diploma, learn about such things as saving, cooking, cleaning and laundry. This would be the only facility of this type in Geary County.
The BZA voted 5-0 to grant permission for the home with a restriction that no more than eight youth can live in the facility at one time. Taylor initially plans to begin with four boys. There will be 24-hour supervision of the residents.
BZA Chair Maureen Gustafson said the residents will be kids who were removed from their homes "because of abuse or things along those lines. " Gustafson added there's a need for this service in the community. "It's well known that we have kids that do need that type of dealing. As long as there's some strong structure I think the group ( BZA ) is willing to believe that there has to be an area to do that."
One resident who lives nearby at 722 West 10th Street, Melanie Davis, expressed opposition. She noted that it is a tough neighborhood with crime. "Don't know if that's the right spot for some children." Davis added she thought that there could be a suitable spot for the boys in Junction City.
This is the second time a group home request was submitted by Taylor. Gustafson said last November he had another proposed property but it was not in a residential multi-family district so it had to go through the Metropolitan Planning Commission to be rezoned. There was a lot of opposition at that time about where the site, a duplex, was located. Gustafson noted the duplex would have been harder to control with one person serving as the supervisor.