Foes of proposed group home appeal again to halt project

June 19, 1994|By Phyllis Brill | Phyllis Brill,Sun Staff Writer

An agency of the United Methodist Church and the Fallston Meadows Community Association were back in court last week, arguing over the proposed construction of a foster care complex at Harford and Reckord roads.

Fallston residents, who took their initial battle to the state Court of Special Appeals in Annapolis and lost in October, have regrouped and filed an administrative appeal in Harford County.

Led by resident Salvatore Glorioso, the community association is appealing a decision by Harford County Planning Director Bill Carroll. The group claims that the proposed 10-building complex is not a "group home," as defined by the Harford County zoning code.

But Michael E. Leaf, the attorney for the church's Board of Child Care, which wants to build a $6 million, 60-bed facility for abused and neglected youths in Fallston Meadows, says there is nothing more to appeal.

Mr. Leaf argued Monday for dismissal of the case before hearing examiner William F. Casey. The lawyer said, among other things, that the issue of a group home cannot be relitigated because it was addressed when the board filed the zoning application three years ago.

Mr. Glorioso, acting as residents' counsel, argued that their appeal is justified. He said the definition of a group home was an administrative decision and was never a litigated issue.

The Board of Child Care originally sought a special exception to the zoning code to build a group home in an agriculturally zoned district. It was the granting of the special exception that the residents appealed for two years in court.

Mr. Casey said he would rule on the church board's motion to dismiss by July 13. If he rules against dismissal, a hearing date will be set for arguments on the group home issue.

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