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Group home for infants planned in Waynesville
WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (Nov. 20, 2008) — CORRECTION APPENDED: The original version of this article wrongly stated that a group home for infants owned by Bletel Residential Homes was run by Don Roberson. Roberson is a real estate agent representing the owners but is not involved in running the group home. — Members of the Waynesville Planning and Zoning Commission voted Tuesday night to recommend that the city council approve a group home in the city for very young children awaiting adoption.

The city council vote is expected Thursday night.

Located at 1910 Long Drive, the proposed group home would be the third licensed group home operated by Bletel Residential Homes. Another group home already exists near Waynesville on the 22000 grid of Rebel Lane, and according to a report by Waynesville Building Department staff members, “statements by others in the area are very favorable” and “most residents are not even aware that the home is in operation” because the children, who are boys between the ages of 8 and 18, are “very well-behaved.”

There have been no problems with the existing home despite the age group, according to real estate agent Don Roberson, who represented the group home at the planning and zoning commission meeting.

“She won’t take real problem children, the ones who would go to Piney Ridge,” Roberson said.

City Administrator Bruce Harrill clarified that Roberson’s application is different from another one that had been submitted.

“We did have an application for another home for older children in Briar Pointe; there were a lot of concerns about that, and that application was withdrawn,” Roberson said.

Responding to questions from Councilman Alan Clark, Roberson said the new home would take only very young children, infants through age three, generally children awaiting adoption. The home will operate 24 hours per day, seven days per week, with staff members on site and a nurse on standby; the maximum capacity is eight children, though numbers will vary.

“Most of them will be adopted out long before they are three,” Roberson said. “There’s such a need for this in this area that the children get moved in and adopted out pretty quickly.”

Responding to questions from various council members, Harrill said the city doesn’t have specific regulations for infant care facilities but said the conditional use permit for group homes appeared to be the most appropriate category. Even though the city doesn’t have specific regulations that apply to infant care facilities, Bletel Residential Homes has met all state regulatory requirements, Harrill said.

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