A conditional use permit request for a group care home will go to the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors later this month after the... PC recommends denial of group home

A conditional use permit request for a group care home will go to the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors later this month after the Planning Commission recommended denial on July 16.

Teshauna Moore Tornes applied for the conditional use permit on Nov. 5, 2018. She subsequently revised it three times, according to the Planning Department staff report.

Even with the revisions, the group home – which would serve four girls ages 13 to 18 – faced stiff opposition from neighbors and a homeowners association.

Although the Planning Department recommended approval with several conditions, eight people spoke during public comment against the request.

“We just don’t want businesses in our neighborhood,” Duncan Heath said.
Tornes proposed a group care facility on nearly one-third of an acre at 6115 Walnut Landing Way – located north of Ironbridge Parkway – with three full-time and two part-time employees.

Staff recommended that the permit, if approved, not be extended to another person or to the property, that it last for only one year upon which time Tornes could re-apply, that no more than three employees be allowed on the property at any one time and that no staff meetings could take place there.
The home would serve girls from foster homes who suffered from abuse or neglect.

“The statistics for this population [of girls are} very grim,” Tornes said. “They often transition out of foster homes into homelessness,” which she said she was trying to avoid. Tornes aims to care for the girls and prepare them to transition into a home or adulthood.

To provide such services, Tornes would have to be licensed by the state Department of Social Services, which would conduct two inspections of the home each year.

The four-bedroom, 2,477-square-foot home has a 56-foot-long driveway, which could fit seven or eight cars, county planner Drew Noxon said. He noted that Tornes agreed to reduce the number of girls from six to four and reduce the number of staff.

Bermuda District Planning Commissioner Gib Sloan noted the he served nine years on the county’s Community Services Board and understands the need for safe homes for those at risk. Sloan added that he attended a community meeting in April with 160 people in attendance. He cited the size of the lot and restrictions on parking and motioned for a denial recommendation, which was approved 4-0 with one commissioner absent.

According to county records, the home is owned by Stephanie K. Gerber, who purchased it last September for $276,500.

The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to consider the permit application Aug. 28.