Plans for a fourth group home operated by ResCare in Greencastle were approved by the Board of Zoning Appeals Tuesday night.
The site they have selected is a 6,800-square-foot mansion owned by Jean Evans, the former wife of Dixie Chopper founder Art Evans and valued at more than $600,000. The home is located on 5 acres of wooded property just west of the Putnam County Airport and Dixie Chopper building. The property is zoned Agricultural.
ResCare officials said they are planning to lease the home -- as they do with all their properties -- and use it to house up to 10 young men ages 13-17.
Board members Barb Bryan, Ed Lattanzio, Bill Robbins, Donnie Watson and Cathy Ferrand voted unanimously to allow the special exception, which permits a group home for eight or more children in an Agricultural Zone.
ResCare Treatment Services Director Donna Bonath said ResCare hopes to begin operating the home as a group facility in the spring, provided they receive all the necessary state permits and licenses.
Representing ResCare, attorney Karen Temple said the home will be an "honors facility" intended for youth who have successfully completed the program and are getting ready to be released to go back home.
With three other facilities in Greencastle already, ResCare employs about 90 people, Temple said, and with the new facility, 10 more jobs will become available.
Along with the BZA's approval came a stipulation that the facility will have no more than 10 boys at any one time, in addition to several staff members that will monitor the facility around the clock.
City Planner Shannon Norman explained that the city zoning ordinance does not specifically address "group homes," however, homes that care for emotionally or physically disabled persons are allowed, so long as they are for less than eight people.
The BZA approved the special exception to allow up to 10 students at any one time to live in the home.
"I can't think of a better use for this home," Temple said.
In other business, the BZA:
* Approved a request by Bonnie Hanlon to construct storage facilities on property west of Bloomington Street and north of Keightly Road. There are already a few storage sites there, but Hanlon is planning to build additional sites. The board unanimously approved a use variance to allow the storage facility to be built.
* Saw Bill Robbins sworn in to replace Jinsie Bingham on the board. Bingham had to give up her seat when elected to the City Council last year.
The BZA meets at 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month at city hall.