State investigating North Little Rock over rejection of adult care home 

House of Three project undermined by bureaucracy, according to owner.

click to enlarge Koy Butler at the home he owns on Arlington Road in North Little Rock image
  • Brian Chilson
  • Koy Butler at the home he owns on Arlington Road in North Little Rock.

The stately gray brick house with black plantation shutters sits alongside a quiet, curved street in Little Rock's upscale Leawood neighborhood, indistinguishable from the homes around it. Inside, two of the women who live there sit around the kitchen table, family style, with their caretaker and two visitors, enjoying a lunch of roast beef and potatoes, washed down with iced tea. A partially finished jigsaw puzzle rests on a table in the adjacent dining room.

Meanwhile, a dozen miles away on Arlington Road in North Little Rock, a more modest red brick ranch house in the Lakewood neighborhood that was in the remodeling process sits half finished and abandoned. Weeds poke up through the concrete in the driveway, and a giant dumpster outside overflows with construction waste.

Koy Butler owns both of these houses. He intended the second to be like the first — a place where up to three elderly disabled people receive around-the-clock care in a home setting, surrounded by their own furniture and prized possessions, rather than the sterile environment of a nursing home. But Butler's House of Three, as he calls it, ran into a bureaucratic buzzsaw in North Little Rock, fueled by neighborhood politics, leaving him marooned with an unfinished project.

Frustrated, Butler filed a complaint with the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission, which is now investigating whether the city violated state and federal fair housing laws by requiring Butler to seek rezoning of the property for his adult care home, which both the Planning Commission and the City Council rejected.

Butler and his attorney, Dana McClain, contend the federal Fair Housing Act prohibits cities from using zoning rules to treat housing for the disabled differently from housing for anyone else. Butler now wants the city to pay $553,000 to make him whole financially.

"I just don't see why the city is dragging their feet," he said. "I've got so much invested in that house that I can't move forward until that's off my balance sheet."

To add insult to injury, on one of his many trips to City Hall to untangle the mess, he was hit by a car on Main Street, leaving him with a cast on his foot.

In an interview, North Little Rock City Attorney C. Jason Carter conceded "absolutely" the city could have done a better job of dealing with Butler's request. But he said the root of the problem was that the city had never previously been faced with a project of this type in a residential neighborhood.

"I'd call this a case of first impression in North Little Rock," Carter said. "And we were stumbling our way through it."

Butler, who has worked in the nursing home industry and is also an alderman in Lonoke, opened his first House of Three in Leawood in 2013. It's a for-profit business, but he said it's also something of a mission.

"It's just more of a personable option, and I just wanted to take care of them more individually," he said. "I want to make a living taking care of people. That's what I've always done."

W.C. Maynard's wife, Jenny, is a resident of the Leawood home, which he said was a vast improvement over her previous care environments.

"It's the best place we've ever found," he said. "That's why we're here. I'd give (Butler) an A-plus"

The House of Three is what is known as an adult family home, designed as an alternative to institutional care. The residents live together as a family with an in-house caregiver.

"We know that seniors want to live in their own homes, or, short of that, in their own communities," said Krista Hughes, director of the Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Aging and Adult Services. "All data shows that people would like to remain in the least restrictive environment possible."

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

Most Shared

  • The martyr of Danville Mountain

    Jacob George, 'moral injury' and one soldier's losing struggle against the encroaching darkness of war.
  • Eugene Ellison: Little Rock's Michael Brown

    A couple of weeks ago I accompanied 10 students to St. Louis for a mass rally in support of indicting the police officer responsible for killing Michael Brown in mid-August.
  • Tom Cotton campaign's dirty telephone tricks

    A Democratic voter of my acquaintance who lives in Conway received a call this week that informed he was not registered to vote.
  • Clarke Tucker: a vote for the future

    If the Democratic Party of Arkansas has a future, it is in people like Clarke Tucker, the Democratic nominee to succeed term-limited John Edwards in representing House District 35 — the Heights and northwestern Little Rock.
  • Good news abounds even if you don't see it in the polls

    Ernest Dumas is back from vacation with a column that chronicles abundant good news in the land and an electorate that either pays it no mind or disbelieves anything could be good on Barack Obama's watch.

Latest in Arkansas Reporter

Event Calendar

« »

October

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

Most Viewed

  • The martyr of Danville Mountain

    Jacob George, 'moral injury' and one soldier's losing struggle against the encroaching darkness of war.
  • Pre-K and taxes define race for governor

    Ross, Hutchinson disagree over what state can afford.
  • Roommates

    The Observer is a few months from 30 and still has a roommate. Just to be clear, this is a share-the-rent deal, not a share-the-bed deal. I'm not gay, and therein lies the problem.
  • Cotton's muddy record

    The best thing we have to look forward to is the certainty that we will have someone other than Tom Cotton to represent us in the 4th Congressional District. His voting record has been an embarrassment to humanity. When his record was brought up as an issue after he announced his candidacy for the Senate, he accused his opposition of slinging mud. At least we know that Tom Cotton is honest: He acknowledged what his voting record looks like.
  • On the eight day, Jason Rapert was a thin-skinned bully

    Also, War Memorial should host a catfish derby, health care-cuttin' Tom Cotton, smartphones are the devil and no-show Mark Martin.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: The martyr of Danville Mountain

    • Koon connects. 2012 the year of Old Guard Dropping like Flies. As Durango notes by…

    • on October 25, 2014
  • Re: A head-scratcher

    • Nice photo. Hayden Fry (Bielema's college coach) would've said that the head Hog ought not…

    • on October 24, 2014
  • Re: The martyr of Danville Mountain

    • Excellent story David about a young man I was around a few times.His life seemed…

    • on October 23, 2014
 

© 2014 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation