Howell zoners approve job training facility for individuals with disabilities

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HOWELL – The Howell Zoning Board of Adjustment has unanimously approved an applicant’s plan to construct a building where job training and recreational programs will be provided to adults who have a developmental disability or a behavioral health challenge.

On March 4, Eihab Human Services Inc. was granted a use variance and preliminary and final major site plan approval to construct a building at the corner of Fort Plains and West Farms roads, Howell.

The property is in Howell’s Highway Development 1 zone. The office use is permitted in the zone. The use to provide job training skills to and recreational programs for adults who have a developmental disability or a behavioral health challenge is not permitted in the zone and a variance was required.

The proposed two-story building will have a gross floor area of 19,965 square feet. The site will have 50 parking spaces to accommodate employees and vans that are owned by the company. There will be employees on-site to assist the clients and employees working in the administrative offices, according to testimony that was presented to the board.

In summing up the company’s request for a variance, attorney Kenneth Pape said he was proud to represent Eihab Human Services.

“Eihab has been part of this community for 10 years, they have their offices here, they purchased property and they are looking to relocate their offices and the training facility for developmentally challenged adults at this site,” he said.

Pape previously told the board he had recently lost his sister, who had a developmental disability, and said this particular application meant a lot to him. He said the applicant worked closely with the zoning board’s engineer to revise the plan.

“We respectfully ask that the board consider favorably the use variance to allow this combination use for Eihab on the site,” Pape said.

The board’s chairman, Wendell Nanson, asked the applicant’s representatives to continue working with the board’s professionals.

Board member Thomas O’Donnell made a motion to grant the use variance and to approve the site plan. Board member Matthew Hughes III seconded the motion.

O’Donnell, Hughes, Herbert Massa, Richard Mertens, James Moretti Jr., Vice Chairman Michael Sanclimenti and Nanson voted “yes” on the motion.