Cornelius revokes permit of group home for criminally insane
- Christian Gaston
- Forest Grove News-Times - News
City officials frustrated that talks with Tigard nonprofit have stalled
Cornelius city officials have revoked a conditional-use permit for a controversial group home in the city that houses mental patients who have been found guilty 'except for insanity' of serious crimes.
Last Friday,Richard Meyer, director of planning and operations for the city, faxed a notice of revocation to Luke-Dorf, Inc. of Tigard, which operates the facility. The move was previewed early in the week after city officials expressed frustration that talks bogged down with the nonprofit.
Luke-Dorf's facility became a flashpoint in the community in late December when Washington County Sheriff Rob Gordon issued a sexual predator alert to 1,300 Cornelius residents. Gordon's move sidestepped state officials who didn't want to issue the notices.
Three sex offenders live in the Luke-Dorf facility, at 117 N. 29th Ave., along with nine other patients from the state hospital.
City officials claim that when Luke-Dorf applied for its permits at the site, it didn't disclose the nature of the people who would be living there, nor the type of secure facility that it would ultimately become.
The city's letter to Luke-Dorf said the planning commission didn't realize that the use would be more intense and 'institutional' in nature and could require additional security measures.
That confusion led city staff to believe that the conditional-use permit issued to the nonprofit that allowed the facility to be established wasn't sought and didn't cover the actual use at the site.
But Howard Spanbock, Luke-Dorf's executive director, is puzzled by the city's stance because he said his company was forthright in its application.
Without the conditional-use permit, Luke-Dorf will have 10 days to appeal the revocation to the city's Planning Commission. If the commission backs up the revocation, then Luke-Dorf could appeal the decision to the City Council, and ultimately take the matter up in circuit court.
Edward Sullivan, Luke-Dorf's attorney, said that he planned to follow the city's appeals process in order to resolve the matter.
City officials have said the facility could remain open during the appeals process.
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