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County admits missteps over group homes

Wythe County officials have promised to issue public apologies and reform handling of housing matters in order to settle a civil lawsuit filed by the state attorney general.

When a group home for up to eight children with mental disabilities was proposed in the county, the supervisors told citizens they would do whatever it took to stop “this type of facility,” according to a statement from the Office of the Attorney General.  Apparently the supervisors had not been briefed on state law, which requires such group homes be treated as single family homes and forbids local laws that discriminate on the basis of disability.

“Local elected officials should consult with their county, city or town attorney and be careful in their statements at all times,” commented former Goochland County attorney Andrew McRoberts.

The county has signed off on a consent order requiring the county to remove discriminatory barriers to such group homes.

By Peter Vieth

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