Green Park considering updates to city’s occupancy permit code

Updates to city’s occupancy permit code come at request of an alderman

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Green Park City Hall.

By Lucas Irizarry, Staff Reporter

Green Park’s occupancy permit process is set to change after the Board of Aldermen heard recommendations from the city attorney on how to update it March 21.

City Attorney Paul Rost was directed in February to review the process after Ward 1 Alderman Michael Broughton described a scenario where a Green Park home is sold to someone representing a residential medical facility and the home is within the city mandated 500-foot distance of another group home/residential medical facility. He said at that point if the city asks the residents to leave, the situation could result in a lawsuit.

“If we don’t address these issues, I can assure you it will only be a matter of time before these corporations that are gobbling up residential property are going to eat up Green Park,” Broughton said. 

Last fall, the city updated its code to more clearly define medical residential facilities versus group homes, and to establish the 500-foot buffer rule. Under the city’s code, a medical residential facility is a “business that provides in-home healthcare and personal care services to four” or fewer unrelated people in a single-family home. 

Rost’s latest recommendations include adding a timeframe for when new occupants will need a permit, stating its required to get one and pay a fee and providing a remedy if the city finds out a report was falsely filed. Rost said the remedy could go as far as revoking the permit and asking the occupants to leave the home, but would likely start with a fine.

“As we talked about last month, the city’s application is very good, it’s very thorough,” Rost said. “The only thing you can’t do anything about is if somebody just isn’t going to follow the rules. We can’t do anything until we know about somebody not following the rules.”

The proposal will now go to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission for further review before a vote by the Board of Aldermen.