The Griffin Area Resource Center received a $1,500 check from the BP Fueling Communities Program after it was nominated for the local grant by Willis Oil Co. in Griffin. The BP Grant program awards such grants to support organizations that focus on health, education, youth, food and housing. ‘We will be able to provide more services to people with disabilities, from employment services to living supports,” said Lisa 0. Sassaman, executive director of GARC.
Since 1955, GARC has been serving individuals with developmental disabilities. This BP grant will allow GARC to better empower their participants to achieve the highest level of personal independence and connection within their community and to strive to improve their quality of life. “Although BP is a large company, it is good about showing concern for local communities,” said Kim Willis, chief executive oficer of Willis Oil Co. “Staying in close touch with local distributors like Willis Oil allows BP to help contribute to local quality of life with grants like these.”
Griffin may be making changes to allow group homes in all residential districts of the city.
City Attorney Drew Whalen advised the city commissioners at Tuesday’s workshop, that in light of recent court decisions, he is recommending the city change its Unified Development Code to allow group homes in all residential districts and to eliminate the requirement of a special use permit as a condition of locating a group home.
Whalen explained there have been “a series of lawsuits that found zoning restrictions discriminatory when applied to those of a protected class — persons with a disability. The city’s current zoning scheme limits group home out of low density housing.”
In city zoning, he said, “there are no limits for related people, a true family unit based on the size of the dwelling or number of bedrooms, but for unrelated people, the limit is two per bedroom.”
He told the city commissioners they “could be sued individually for discriminating, and it would not fall under qualified immunity, since it’s been federal law for 20 years. The law in this area is clearly established,” he said referring to the Federal Fair Housing Act amendments made in 1988 and the subsequent Americans With Disabilities Act, Whalen said,