June, 28 2017
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School for Troubled Teens Denied in Maryland
Sussex County Councilman Dale Dukes, D-Laurel, Tuesday pledged to help Shiloh House of Hope find an alternative, more suitable location for a residential treatment center and school for troubled teens.
The proposed rural location just outside Bridgeville, Dukes and fellow councilmen said, was the problem -- not the program.
The council voted to deny the application for a conditional use for a residential school and treatment program on six acres north of McDowell Road. The property, zoned for agricultural and low density residential use, is in a rural area.
Council followed the recommendation of its Planning and Zoning Commission in denying the application.
County planners voted in November to recommend denial of the application by Shiloh House of Hope amid concerns that the proposal was out of character with the rural area and that it was outside a development area. In addition, planners said the area lacked infrastructure -- like easy and fast access to police, fire and ambulance services -- that would be needed to support a treatment center and school for troubled teens.
Dukes, along with Council President Finley Jones and councilman Lynn Rogers, said the proposal was one of the most emotional he had faced on his years on the council.
Dukes said it was especially difficult for him because he had spent many hours working with teens with drug and alcohol problems in other programs in the United States and abroad.
"I have seen the success of these programs," he said. "Teens today face many challenges which we did not face ... when we were teens."
Dukes said people in his own church were involved in this project and he believes it could still be a success in a more appropriate location.
"This program is worthy of our time and effort," he said.
Rogers, D-Milton, said he, too, had struggled with the proposal.
But the vote was perhaps most difficult for Jones, D-Greenwood, who represents the area.
Jones said he had known the key players in the project for years and also knew most of the people who lived in the surrounding rural neighborhood who opposed it.
"I hope this project will not tear the community apart," he said.
Like Dukes, Jones said he would like to see a more appropriate site and would like to see the community work together to find it.
Shiloh House of Hope is part of a national program. The local group has run a nonresidential counseling program in the Bridgeville area for the last year. But local organizers say a residential program was always the goal. Options for troubled teens facing issues such as depression or self-mutilation are limited in the area, they say.
The faith-based, Christian program includes the study of Scripture, parenting programs and book discussions. Plans for the six-acre site included construction of a chapel, small group homes, a school and administration building. Under the proposal, the program would have housed up to 48 troubled youth.
Neighboring residents vigorously opposed the plan, amid concerns troubled teenagers would walk away.
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Retreat for Troubled Teens Planned in Kansas 1/28/08
Residential Treatment Center for Troubled Teens Denied in Idaho 8/17/07
Alabama Gov Proud of New Services for Troubled Youth 1/11/08
TX, Lone Star Expeditions 1st to Integrate Ropes Course for Troubled Teens 1/14/08
Center for Troubled Teens to Open in Pennsylvania 1/12/08
Maryland Troubled Teens Tracked by GPS 1/12/08
New York Closes 6 Centers for Troubled Youth 1/12/08
Jamaica Considers Using Boot Camps to Help Troubled Teens 1/12/08
Montana Wrestler Sentenced to Juvenile Boot Camp 1/11/08
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