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Controversial group home gets help from county - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Controversial group home gets help from county

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Monument -

A group home in a Monument neighborhood is in question after complaints led the El Paso County Board of Commissioners to determine if the home is violating code by being located in a residential area.

The El Paso County Commissioners voted 5-0 Tuesday to give the Soaring Hope Recovery Center two weeks to show it's abiding by current zoning laws, operating as a group home, and not a rehabilitation center. Neighbors in the area have been outspoken, and the homeowners association wants to see the center gone.

The El Paso County Board of Commissioners' decision Tuesday gives Soaring Hope until November 3rd to prove it is running as a group home and not a rehabilitation facility, which falls under different zoning codes.

"I am thrilled that the county can become much more comfortable with what's going on here and that the working relationship between ourselves and the county has taken a major step forward," said Rick Bolin, CEO of Soaring Hope.

By the 3rd, Soaring Hope needs to present a comprehensive list of property uses to the county. Anything that falls under rehabilitation use must stop within 24 hours. The county is also now permitted to do random inspections, compliant to HIPAA laws.

"We're very excited about the idea that they're going to be on site expecting us, so that they don't have to have these questions any longer," Bolin said.

The Red Rock Ranch HOA still has questions -- their covenant doesn't allow commercial businesses.

"It's not them though," Red Rock Ranch HOA director Michelle Miller said. "They're not violating the covenant. It's the owners who signed the covenant agreement, and our only legal recourse is against the owners of the home."

The owners are an elderly couple now living at an assisted care home. Miller says she hasn't heard from the owners at all during this situation.

Miller said neighbors witnessed a body bag being carried away from the home last year after she says a drug overdose occurred there, and says a registered sex offender stayed at the home, causing an uproar in the neighborhood.

"We want to be good neighbors and we plan to be here for a very, very long time to come -- as a group home," Bolin said.

Miller said the HOA is rewriting their covenant to not allow group homes, and that other HOA's should follow.

"If there are any other homeowners associations out there that haven't gotten this problem already, they should absolutely take whatever actions they can take now proactively to stop it before it just shows up," Miller said.

If Soaring Hope's application of variance is approved by the county commissioners on November 3rd, the center can continue operation as usual. If not, the commissioners would go through with necessary enforcement.

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