House Bill 5981 is to be taken up for a vote on the Senate floor today (this morning). Call your State Senator and urge them to vote NO on the bill as reported from committee!
HB 5981 will preempt local zoning authority and require residential treatment programs to be a permitted use in all residential zones, not subject to any special use or conditional use permit.
Qualified residential treatment programs (QRTP) provide trauma-informed treatment for up to 25 children per location and require staffing 24 hours a day / 7 days a week by medically licensed personnel. This bill becoming law would permit a use that does not fit into a residential setting given the type of facility, requirements, and intensity of use. HB 5981 will stop your municipality from providing compatible uses within a zone and it will not allow you to have buffering or adequate parking standards apply to the QRTP.
This bill IS NOT being done because of a federal requirement. It is being pursued by one company that refuses to go through the local process and apply for a special land use permit with their local unit of government.
The MML has testified in opposition to the bill and has worked on an amendment to put these programs in line with other state-licensed facilities.
If an amendment is adopted on the Senate floor limiting the number of individuals to six or fewer (mirroring existing law for adult foster care facilities), the MML will be neutral on the bill. While not ideal, it is a fair compromise to avoid the all-out preemption being pushed for.
Please call now and tell your Senator you oppose HB 5981 as reported from committee and why they should oppose it too.
Jennifer Rigterink is the League’s assistant director of state and federal affairs handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues. She can be reached at [email protected] or 517-908-0305.