Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Social services amendments to take more time

Proposed text amendments that would dictate the number and location of the City's social services will not be discussed by the City Planning Commission (CPC) for "several weeks", according to a communication to City Council from city manager Milton Dohoney, Jr.

The memo is in response to a letter written to Councilmember Roxanne Qualls by Over-the-Rhine Foundation executive director Michael Morgan calling the deconcentration of social services "a critical first step" to fixing "a broken social service system" and improving the health of the City.

On February 10, the City Planning Commission reviewed 32 proposed text amendment changes compiled over several months by a 24-member Social Service Committee, a body composed of representatives from social service agencies, residents, and other community stakeholders.

A majority of the meeting's speakers were employees of the agencies, who feared that they would be unable to expand in their current locations.

Others believed that the text amendments would force them out of the basin entirely.

"Due to the number of proposed text amendments and the complexity of the issues involved in the regulation of social service agencies, no decisions or recommendations were made at this meeting," Dohoney says.

Ten days later, CPC again discussed the proposed amendments in a work session, and members requested more information from City staff.

"The text amendments will not be scheduled again before the City Planning Commission until the additional research is completed," Dohoney says.

A lawsuit, filed against the City by the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless and 13 other social service agencies over council's June 2008 resolution supporting deconcentration, is pending.

Previous reading on BC:
OTRF head calls social service deconcentration 'a critical first step' (2/24/09)
Cincinnati resolves to deconcentrate social services (6/30/08)
Bortz resolves to de-concentrate social services (4/16/08)
CityLink legislation could lead to zoning changes (1/28/08)
Burke defends CityLink (12/27/07)