PCS plans group home

February 17, 2011

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

A new group home planned by Piedmont Community Services (PCS) would replace a similar facility already in Martinsville.

Up to eight men and women with intellectual disabilities would occupy the house, which is to be built in the 1600 block of Church Street Extension. It would be near another group home that PCS opened next to Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in 2009, according to Executive Director Jim Tobin.

When the new home opens, PCS plans to close the Piedmont Group Home on Starling Avenue, Tobin said. That home is hard for some residents to move around in because it has two stories and problems such as narrow stairways, he said.

The home on Starling “served us well for many years,” Tobin said. But “it’s very hard to retrofit an existing building like that” to satisfy the needs of disabled people.

Residents of the Piedmont Group Home would be transferred to the new home, said Tobin. It would be their permanent home if they desire, he said.

Design plans for the new group home are not yet finished. However, Tobin said the home would have bedrooms for each resident, bathrooms with special features used by people with disabilities, a living room, laundry room, kitchen and office.

A Martinsville Planning Commission report shows the house also would have a partial basement.

The single-story brick house would cover about 3,000 square feet and be similar in its construction style to the group home next to Holy Trinity, Tobin said.

“It would be larger than the average house,” he said, but “it will be nice” in terms of its construction.

The planning commission will meet at 2 p.m. today, and it will begin considering a special use permit needed for the home to be built.

PCS employees would be at the home to care for residents 24 hours a day, Tobin said, describing it as an “intermediate care facility.”

He said a Medicaid program would reimburse PCS for the construction cost. The last estimate he saw was for $880,000.

Construction is expected to be completed by the spring of 2012, he said.

Seven group homes — two of which are run by PCS — are in Henry County and Martinsville, Tobin said.

Eventually, PCS intends to reserve spaces in the new structure for people with disabilities who need a little more care than most other group home residents, such as ones with mobility problems, he said.

Because PCS has experience in running group homes, the city planning staff is suggesting that the planning commission approve the special use permit if several conditions are met. Those include submitting for approval plans for landscaping, signs, stormwater control and any other structures that may eventually be desired on the property, a document shows.

If the commission looks favorably on the permit request, it will set a public hearing for a future meeting before considering whether to grant the permit, City Planner Susan McCulloch said.


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