Warren County approves plan for Solid Rock Church’s boys home with equine therapy

The 30,000 square foot Restoration group foster home would be built on nearly 15 acres off Union Road on the Solid Rock Church campus in Turtlecreek Twp. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Contributed

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The 30,000 square foot Restoration group foster home would be built on nearly 15 acres off Union Road on the Solid Rock Church campus in Turtlecreek Twp. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Contributed

Warren County commissioners approved Solid Rock Church’s plan to build a new $10 million group foster home for boys on its North Campus in Turtlecreek Twp.

After a lengthy hearing Tuesday, the commissioners unanimously approved the plan on nearly 14-acres of church-owned land. The proposed change in plans from a senior living facility to the foster facility was not recommended by the Warren County Planning Commission and was opposed by the Turtlecreek Twp. trustees. The county Rural Zoning Commission approved the proposal last month by a 2-1 vote.

Located on Union Road next to the woods north of the church and its iconic “Lux Mundi” statue of Jesus, the 30,000-square-foot Restoration Ranch will provide full-time housing for 36 boys ages 11 to 18 years old in Ohio’s foster care system. The facility would by licensed by the Ohio Jobs and Family Services department.

ExploreWarren County officials split on $10M Solid Rock Church boys foster home plan

Church officials said Restoration Ranch will feature separate spaces to accommodate different age groups, two recreation rooms, a dining hall, a commercial-grade kitchen, space for equine therapy and office space for administrators, therapists and medical professionals.

The facility would be a ranch-style group home and provide therapeutic care. The boys at Restoration Ranch will work with and care for the horses, and the older boys will be taught how to live independently as they transition into adulthood, said Pastor Lawrence Bishop II. In the past, Bishop said equine therapy has been proven to be a successful way to help troubled children.

Turtlecreek Twp. Trustee Jonathan Sams told the commissioners that the township did not oppose the church’s mission to develop a facility which looks attractive but said there were better locations in the township to build. He said the township wants to expand its tax base but struggles due to the proximity of three correctional centers.

In August, the trustees sent a letter to the county Rural Zoning Commission asking that it deny the zoning change. The trustees cited the zoning change was contrary to the area plans adopted the township and the county commissioners for future development as well as being contrary to the business/economic plan and would have a substantial negative impact for planned business and residential uses.

ExploreSolid Rock Church boys foster home project delayed

In July, church representatives withdrew a similar plan rather than risk rejection because the existing plan for the land use, approved in 2002, only permitted senior-living facilities, including a 30-person building and 36 single-family homes.

It would expand on a 12-boy home already set up in the church and make way for a similar program for 12 girls

Commissioner Shannon Jones said the proposed facility will address “a great need in the county” of placing foster children. She said the county places children in facilities that are hours away from Warren County and in different states. Jones said the facility would be on church owned property and it was a service they want to provide that isn’t available now.

“This would be cost-effective to the county,” she said.

Jones said the goal was to reunify children with parents and placing them locally would be a benefit. While she wants to help the township, she did not think the facility competes with the township efforts.

ExploreSolid Rock Church to build new foster care facility next to horse ranch

Commissioners Tom Grossman and David Young agreed.

“We’ve been partners with the township but it looks like this time we’ll have to disagree,” Young said.

He said the church’s plan was an extension of their ministries.

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