Muskie Harris to ask for use permit for group home again | Arkansas Blog

Monday, March 23, 2015

Muskie Harris to ask for use permit for group home again

Posted By on Mon, Mar 23, 2015 at 3:14 PM

click to enlarge The historic Harris house, for which Muskie Harris is again seeking a conditional use permit.
  • The historic Harris house, for which Muskie Harris is again seeking a conditional use permit.
Muskie Harris, the former Razorback football player who operates a group home at 20th and Broadway for men with first-time alcohol and substance abuse arrests, is again seeking a conditional use permit for the home from the Capitol Zoning District Commission. His application will be heard by the Mansion Area Advisory Committee on April 9 agenda and by the commission on April 16.

Both the committee and commission denied the permit in February 2014. Harris and business partner Lancet Lamb sued the CZDC in April 2014, saying the commission had violated the U.S. Fair Housing Act. That suit is still pending in Circuit Court; Judge Tim Fox has asked Harris to file a brief by April 7.

Harris incorporated the Muskie Harris Rehabilitation Service in 2013 to operate the group home and opened it in October 2013, a month prior to seeking a conditional use permit from the commission. The CZDC staff recommended at that time that the conditional use permit be granted as long as the house met state and city zoning laws, was kept in good condition, that none of its residents had been convicted on drug or alcohol charges and there was no drug use in the house.

Harris said the residents were part of a program that allows first-time offenders arrested on alcohol or substance abuse to complete recovery programs to get the charges against them discharged.

The commission rejected the application, saying the use of the house, designed by Charles Thompson and constructed circa 1895, as a group home did not meet “urban design goals” of the Mansion Area Master Plan.

There was strong, vocal opposition at meetings of the Mansion Area Advisory Committee and the Downtown Neighborhood Association when the house was first occupied, but Boyd Maher, executive director of the CZDC, said the only feedback received lately has come from a neighbor.

We have a call in to Harris to ask why he’s applying for a permit again rather than letting the lawsuit play out and details on the group home’s occupants. Federal law considers persons with drug or substance abuse problems to be disabled, which allows them to live in group homes so long as they meet zoning rules. That law would seem to apply to the house.

Harris said in an interview last year that the men come to the house from 90-day recovery centers such as Serenity House, Recovery Centers of Arkansas and Hoover House. They are required to work, attend Narcotics or Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and pay rent, which includes meals. 

Tags: , , , ,

Sign up for the Daily Update email


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • High spirits at Rock Town

    The alcohol will really flow this weekend. In addition to the Great Arkansas Beer Festival and Queers & Beers, Rock Town Distillery gets in the spirit by celebrating its eighth anniversary with a grand opening of its new building in SoMa, at 1201 Main St.
    • Jun 22, 2018
  • Have yourself a beery little weekend, with GARBF, Beers & Queers

    A sudsy weekend in the river cities kicks off Saturday, June 23, at the Statehouse Convention Center with the Great Arkansas Beer Festival, at 4:30 p.m. (for V.I.P. ticketholders) and 5:30 p.m. for the hoi polloi. Then on Sunday, June 24, Argenta celebrates National Pride Day with Beers & Queers, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in front of Flyway Brewing in Argenta.
    • Jun 22, 2018
  • Digital kiosk to be unveiled Monday

    Mayor Mark Stodola will unveil on Monday a new digital engagement kiosk outside the Statehouse Convention Center that will provide a touchscreen for wayfinding, transit, weather, shopping and other advertisements and act as a free Wi-Fi hotspot.
    • Jun 22, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Viewed

  • Proposed child holding site in Arkansas 5 miles from WWII Japanese-American internment camp

    One big difference between Rohwer and today: The parents kept at Rohwer in World War II weren't separated from their children.
  • LR woman sues Louisville police over failures in rape investigation

    Salisa Luster Harrison, who now lives in Little Rock, Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit in Louisville, Ky., alleging multiple failures by the Louisville police investigating a sexual assault of her more than 10 years ago.
  • Baby gorilla born at zoo

    The Little Rock Zoo has a happy announcement: The birth of a healthy baby gorilla. The baby, whose sex has not been determined, was born to Sekani, who came to the zoo in 2004 from Toronto; her baby is her third. The father of the baby is a silverback, Kivu, and he is being "very attentive" to his first child, the zoo reports. Kivu came to the zoo in 2016 from Santa Barbara.

Most Recent Comments



© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation