New Hope zoning board denies petition for halfway house - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

New Hope zoning board denies petition for halfway house

The zoning board cited lack of proper paperwork in their decision to reject the petition. (Source: WAFF) The zoning board cited lack of proper paperwork in their decision to reject the petition. (Source: WAFF)
The house is owned by Sharon Walker, who intends to give shelter and support to those in need. (Source: WAFF) The house is owned by Sharon Walker, who intends to give shelter and support to those in need. (Source: WAFF)
NEW HOPE, AL (WAFF) -

The zoning board of New Hope denied a petition to allow a halfway house to be developed..

At Tuesday's zoning ordinance meeting, board members said they had not received the proper paperwork or inspections necessary to proceed.

Prior to the meeting, Mayor Butch Taylor said there were a lot of rumors about who would be living in the halfway house. Sharon Walker is in charge of the project, and said the house, if approved in the future, will be for five men recovering from addictions. Her plans called for prospective tenants to be selected through an application process. In order to be considered, the applicants must complete a rehabilitation program. Preference would be given to veterans.

Walker called it "a controlled program with many rules."

The decision to deny the petition came after a public input session, during which some residents threatened to leave New Hope if the plans were approved.

The mayor had said his hands were tied when it comes to the proposed halfway house on Johnson Street. According to Taylor, because of the Fair Housing Act, the city could be sued if the zoning board did not approve the project.

“If it passes, we'll probably have a lot of upset people,” Taylor said before Tuesday's meeting. “If it fails, the city will face the possibility of a lawsuit, so either way it's a no-win situation.”

A lawsuit may be one of Walker's future options. In the immediate future, she said, she will work to obtain the proper paperwork and then re-apply.

Copyright 2014 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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