State Reps. John Becker (R-Union Township, Clermont County) and Jeff Crossman (D-Parma) today announced the introduction of House Bill (HB) 505, bipartisan legislation to strengthen home rule and restore local communities’ ability to approve zoning for residential treatment facilities, commonly known as halfway houses.
The bill comes as a number of constituents in Rep. Becker’s district have expressed concerns about the proposed location of a halfway house slated to open within walking distance of a nearby elementary school—a decision Becker says should be left up to local residents.
“No one questions the important work being done to help rehabilitate people across Ohio,” Becker said. “But there needs to be some common sense about where halfway houses can operate. We need to give residents a say before a halfway house opens in their neighborhood.”
Currently in Ohio, local residents have the opportunity to offer input when a property owner proposes a change in how a property is being used. However, state law exempts residential treatment facilities with five or fewer residents from this requirement.
HB 505 would standardize the zoning process and give local residents the opportunity to weigh in on all proposed changes, something Rep. Crossman says is critical as the state continues to look for ways to combat its near worst-in-the-nation opioid crisis.
“At the end of the day, we’re a home rule state and this bill strengthens our commitment to letting local residents decide what’s best for their communities as we continue to look for ways to treat addiction and combat our state’s opioid crisis,” said Rep. Crossman.
With its introduction, House Bill 505 awaits referral to a House committee for further consideration.