The owners of a group home proposed for Orem will definitely appeal, and possibly sue, over the City Council's denial Tuesday of their request for a conditional-use permit.
4 For Youth Inc. wants permission to open a home for troubled youths at 183 N. 1200 West in the highway-services zone - the only zone in Orem that allows group homes.Mary Kay Kennedy, one of the owners of 4 For Youth Inc., said Wednesday that she and her partners, Brannen Guthrie, Greg Anderson and Steve Astle, are confused by the City Council's tie vote Tuesday, a vote the city attorney says basically amounts to a denial of the request.
Since the full council was present with one member excused for a conflict of interest, the city manager was not able to immediately tell Kennedy what would happen next. Usually an appeal is only brought back when a full council was not in attendance during the original vote, which was not the case Tuesday.
Paul Johnson, city attorney, said the practical effect of the tie vote is no approval, therefore a denial to the request.
"At this point, we're waiting to see what the group home owners will do," Johnson said Wednesday.
"If they appeal, it will go to the Board of Adjustments, not back to the City Council."
"We do have the right to appeal. We know that," Kennedy said. "Probably in October we'll bring it back. We do plan on fighting it."
Kennedy said council members were clearly informed that they needed a land-use reason to deny the permit.
"They were not supposed to deny it for personal reasons, and they did just that. We were very surprised," she said.
If an appeal is unsuccessful, Kennedy said she and her partners would consider bringing legal action against the city.
"We've been beat up more than we should have been," Kennedy said. "The council should have put a stop to it, I think."
Kennedy said the reaction of neighbors and residents doesn't surprise her as much as it concerns her. She's certain that group homes help individuals and communities by offering solutions to youth problems.
"We need to be supportive of these (troubled) kids. If they don't have a group home, they're out on the streets," she said.
The home would serve up to 12 youths between the ages of 12 and 18 with a ratio of one staff member for each youth during the day and one staff member for every six youths at night.