TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

ZONING HEARING BOARD

MINUTES – AUGUST 16, 2005

 

 

The regular meeting of the Zoning Hearing Board of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on August 16, 2005.  Acting Chairman Dobson called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. noting that the Board will adjourn at 11:00 p.m. and allow the Applicants the opportunity to have their matters continued to the next Board meeting if they are not completed by that time.

 

Those present:

 

Zoning Hearing Board:  Darwin Dobson, Acting Chairman, Zoning Hearing Board

                                                Paul Bamburak, Member

                                                Greg Caiola, Alternate Member

                                               

 Others:                                    Robert Habgood, Code Enforcement Officer

                                                John Koopman, Township Solicitor

                                                James Majewski, Township Engineer

                                                Allen Toadvine, Zoning Hearing Board Solicitor

                                                Steve Santarsiero, Supervisor Liaison

                                                Nancy Frick, Director, Zoning, Inspections and Planning

 

Absent:                         Barbara Kirk, Chairman

Rudolph Mayrhofer, Zoning Hearing Board Vice Chair

David Malinowski, Secretary

                                                Paul Kim, Alternate Member

 

APPEAL #05-1311, APPEAL #05-1312, APPEAL #05-1313 – ALLEGHENY VALLEY SCHOOL

 

Mr. Schneider, attorney for Allegheny Valley School was present. He stated he had a motion for Mr. Dobson to recuse himself from this matter based on his apparent advocacy against AVS, which raises an appearance that he will not be able to fairly judge this proceeding.  At the last the hearing in examining Ms. Deans, Mr. Dobson asked the following, “If you are worried about funding and costs and everything, why would you come to a high cost area in the state when there are a lot of other areas around here that would cost a heck of a lot less than $450,000 per house and still be able to get the same primary care that AVS gets in Pittsburgh.  Why would you come to this area instead of any other area that would cost taxpayers a heck of a lot less than what you’re paying for right here?”  Mr. Schneider stated Ms. Deans replied to Mr. Dobson “We find that the type of homes we find similar to the ones in your community are large enough and

sufficient that they require less money for renovation than smaller ones.  These homes have to meet C1.”  Mr. Schneider stated at that point Mr. Dobson interrupted and said, “Please don’t insult me.”  Ms. Deans said, “Sir, I am telling you I don’t buy your argument,” before she had an opportunity to even finish his question.  Mr. Schneider stated further on in the exchange Ms. Deans said “we wouldn’t buy a $200,000 house if it wasn’t large enough for us.  We have a lot of houses that are less than $200,000 that don’t have sufficient square footage that we need.”  Mr. Dobson then asked “anywhere in the state?”  Ms. Deans said “anywhere in the state of Pennsylvania.” 

 

Mr. Schneider stated sometime after that hearing it appears that Mr. Dobson had an interview with the Yardley News.  First he said to the Yardley News “AVS could have purchased four bedroom homes in less expensive areas like Upper Bucks, Berks and Lehigh Counties and could have gotten more bang for the buck in terms of spending taxpayers dollars.”  The Yardley News also reported on his exchange with Ms. Deans as “questioning the logic of AVS coming to a high cost residential area in the state when there are a lot of areas around here that would cost a heck of a lot less.”  Mr. Schneider stated to Mr. Dobson that where people live and what affect it is going to have on taxpayers is absolutely irrelevant to this proceeding.  We are attempting to secure clients rights under the fair housing act to live in a specific dwelling of their choice and they are allowed to live where they choose.  AVS is entitled for itself and on behalf of its clients, to a fair hearing before an impartial board or body. He stated Mr. Dobson gave the impression of being a prosecuting attorney for the other side.  That impression leads to an appearance of bias and we are entitled to a hearing free of an appearance of bias.  Mr. Schneider stated the questions led it to appear that Mr. Dobson is concerned about these homes moving into this community because it is an upper class community and that these folks should be living in communities other than upper class communities.  He also stated Mr. Dobson made it clear that he is concerned about what is being spent here in his own regard as a taxpayer and his role as a taxpayer is not what he is here about.  He said Mr. Dobson is here about determining whether or not Allegheny Valley School’s appeal falls under and is within the code that you are supposed to

apply and whether or not we are entitled to reasonable accommodations under the fair housing

act and how much money it costs taxpayers is irrelevant.  Mr. Schneider stated if Mr. Dobson is concerned about the money that is being spent by taxpayers, and he believe that he indicated that is going to influence his decision, than Mr. Dobson should not be making the decision and should not be part of the panel that makes the decision.  In addition, the way Mr. Dobson interrupted Ms. Deans and told her “you would not buy her argument” before she even had an opportunity to finish the question, makes it look like he made a prejudgment.  He said because of those appearances, He thinks AVS is entitled to have Mr. Dobson recuse himself.

 

Mr. Toadvine stated to Mr. Schneider that before the Board allows the other attorneys who represent the various parties in this matter put in their two cents, one of the issues that you raise in your motion for recusal specifically in the addendum, is that Mr. Dobson gave an interview.  Mr. Schneider said it appears that way, he alleged that upon information and belief because of the newspaper article.  Mr. Toadvine asked Mr. Schneider if he is referring to the newspaper article by Jeff Werner.  Mr. Schneider stated which is attached.  Mr. Toadvine said in addition to comments from Mr. Dobson, he believes there are quotes from Ms. Kirk in that article, correct?  Mr. Schneider replied yes, but he did not find the kind of statements that required recusal of Ms. Kirk and did not see any prejudgment or any indication of interest.  Mr. Toadvine asked if we are sure that Mr. Dobson gave an interview or are we assuming Mr. Dobson gave an interview.  Mr. Schneider stated he believed that Mr. Dobson gave an interview based on the newspaper article that is attached.  Mr. Toadvine stated he is sure Mr. Dobson can answer whether or not he gave such an interview and asked if we could ask Mr. Dobson if he gave Mr. Werner an interview.  Mr. Schneider said that is fine.  Mr. Toadvine asked Mr. Dobson did he give Mr. Werner an interview?  Mr. Dobson replied no he did not.  Mr. Toadvine asked if Mr. Werner is present here this evening?  Mr. Werner replied yes.  Mr. Toadvine asked Mr. Werner to come forward.

 

The Court Reporter swore in Mr. Werner.  Mr. Schneider asked Mr. Werner if he interviewed Mr. Dobson for this article.  Mr. Werner replied no he did not.  Mr. Schneider asked Mr. Werner to tell us on what basis he attributed the paragraph that says “Dobson didn’t buy the argument, he

said AVS could have purchased four bedroom homes in less expensive areas like Upper Bucks,

Berks and Lehigh Counties and could have gotten more bang for the bucks in terms of spending taxpayers dollars.”  Mr. Werner stated he was paraphrasing from the previous hearing that Mr. Dobson made the comment at.  Mr. Schneider asked if this is the impression Mr. Werner got as an ordinary citizen sitting in the audience from Mr. Dobson’s statements.  Mr. Werner stated that is correct.  Mr. Schneider asked Mr. Werner if it appears to him based on this that Mr. Dobson is concerned about the affects on him as a taxpayer of these proceedings.  Mr. Werner replied no.  Mr. Schneider asked Mr. Werner as an ordinary citizen do you come to the conclusion that Mr. Dobson is going to let the affect of this as a taxpayer affect his ability to judge this and said to Mr. Werner that he is under oath, do you under stand that?  Mr. Werner stated he does not believe he can make a judgment on that.  Mr. Schneider stated he is just asking for the impression that he got from the hearing, whether or not it is absolutely true.  Mr. Werner said he needs to be an impartial member of the press and cannot make that judgment.  He stated he writes what he believes to have happened at the meetings and tries not to make a judgment.  Mr. Schneider said as an observer you reported something that indicates that Mr. Dobson will allow the affect on him as a taxpayer to affect his judgment.  Mr. Werner asked Mr. Schneider to repeat the question.  Mr. Schneider asked in your observations as a reporter, what you are trying to covey here is the understanding that Mr. Dobson may allow the affect on this proceeding on him as a taxpayer affect his judgment.  Mr. Werner stated he does not know that.  Mr. Schneider asked if that is the impression he is putting forward here.  Mr. Werner stated if that is the way you read it, yes.

 

Mr. Bamburak asked Mr. Werner if he was at the meeting or did he rely on second hand information.  Mr. Werner replied he was at the meeting.

 

Mr. Toadvine asked if the other attorneys would like to question Mr. Werner.  Mr. Koopman replied no.  Mr. Toadvine asked if the other attorneys would like to address this issue.  Mr. DeGrezia stated he was at the hearing in question, reviewed the record and looked at the article

and there is really no personal interest that Mr. Dobson has that is not different than any member on the Board.  The question he raised was not only relevant but goes to one of the core issues in

this matter.  A court has never looked at this issue.  It is something that will come up again and again.  Every single witness the applicant has produced has said the same thing that group homes with four people are desired.  Any additional people, group homes of six, are not preferred.  In fact it violates state policy, which establishes a maximum of four people to a group home.  The sole basis that this applicant has set forth for pushing six people into each one of these homes is financing.  The stated has under funded the program.  AVS did not look at the costs to create sixteen to twenty-one group homes. What they said is you have a budget for a facility that houses eighty-four people with a nine million dollar budget. AVS asked it staff how many group homes can you build and we will put everybody in it.  If the operating costs for Greenwich were twelve million rather than nine million, we wouldn’t be here because it would have a density that would fit within the ordinance.  The issue is a key point here, Mr. Dobson’s question generally was, why buy three homes at an average of $500,000 rather than four homes at $375,000?  If you bought four homes at $375,000 your out of pocket are the same costs, yet now they comply with the state’s requirements and the administrative code.  Now you will also have less impact in the neighborhoods.  The question is something that is relevant.  Mr. Dobson has not shown that he has any type of interest other than what other people on the Board have.  Board members are allowed to cross-examine, to find witnesses not credible, allowed to have opinions.  If finding a witness not credible were a basis for recusal then you would not have anyone on the Board to ask questions or find witnesses not credible. Mr. Schneider’s characterization of the question is unfair.  Nowhere in the article are statements that there are claims or appearance that developmentally disabled are not allowed to be anywhere they’re not.  Under the Fair Housing Act they can locate anywhere they want.  The question of cost is relevant, everyone in this room has a right to live in any house in any neighborhood they want.  It does not mean they should be given a five million dollar home.  Costs are relevant.  Mr. DeGrezia stated that he hopes the Board does not allow the applicant to use these types if scare tactics to avoid real cross-examination of a witness. Mr. Koopman stated the issue of recusal is an issue for Mr. Dobson and the Zoning Hearing Board; it is not a Township issue.  The Township has no formal position on the recusal, and it is up to Mr. Dobson.  He stated the question that started the exchange that

Mr. Dobson made as counsel for the residents indicated was clearly a relevant question and cost is a very relevant issue and is an issue that he intends to delve into in his cross-examination of Mr. Champ and Ms. Deans.  Mr. Koopman stated Mr. Schneider will argue that it is not relevant and use case language that talks about the handicap having the right to live anywhere they want, but there are other cases which make it clear that the financial issues are relevant cases.  Mr. Koopman cited Bryant Woods Inc.  Mr. Schneider objected.  Mr. Koopman asked if he could finish.  Mr. Schneider replied no and both men went back and forth objecting to each other.  Mr. Schneider stated the Third Circuit in Lapid Laurel… Mr. Toadvine asked what the basis of the objection is.   Mr. Schneider states his argument is irrelevant because the Third Circuit is in Lapid Laurel and you are governed by the Third Circuit, which had rejected the Bryant Wood analysis. Mr. Koopman stated Mr. Schneider is making a legal argument. Mr. Toadvine stated that Mr. Schneider is entitled to make his argument.  Mr. Koopman stated that Bryant Woods is a case out of the Fourth Circuit, contrary to what Mr. Schneider indicated; the language was affirmed and supported by Lapid Laurel, which is the most recent pronouncement of the Third Circuit on these issues.  He stated that Bryant Woods makes its clear that financial issues are relevant and goes into the reason the petition for the Applicants was dismissed was because the evidence showed that there were numerous group homes that could be accommodated with four or five people who met the ordinance requirements.  Mr. Koopman stated he does not think Mr. Schneider will give us one set of the facts or law, but there are other cases that have a different view and would submit under Lapid Laurel, the view of the Third Circuit is that financial issues are relevant and the Board should consider some of these cases.  He stated if Mr. Toadvine he hasn’t been briefed the Board on these cases, please do that and read these cases.  The recusal petition is up to the Board or Mr. Dobson.

 

Mr. Schneider stated that he does not deny that financial issues are relevant, the issue that is not

relevant is the cost of the house.  The issue is the financial ability of AVS to operate under your

code.  The price of houses in Bucks and Montgomery County, where the homes wanted to be

opened that AVS found and were available are in this price range.  If we have to buy more of

those houses because we can’t get an accommodation, then that will increase the cost to AVS

and make it impossible for AVS to open up any houses.  So the cost of a particular house is irrelevant and our residents have a right live wherever they choose.  Second, the issue with Mr. Dobson isn’t just why did you buy such expensive houses, why did AVS buy houses here.  Implying clearly that AVS should be buying houses elsewhere.  That is not allowed under the Fair Housing Act.  Mr. Dobson cannot come in here with an attitude you ought not to be in our neighborhoods.  Mr. Schneider stated he agrees with Mr. DeGrezia that his interest on this Board should not be any different than any other Board member.  Every other Board member I presume is a taxpayer also, paying taxes to the County, State, School District, and Township.  But it was Mr. Dobson that made this personal and talked about AVS paying taxes and he personalized the taxpaying to him as part of this procedure.  He stated he also agrees with Mr. DeGrezia that he finds a witness incredible is not a reason for recusal that is his job.  What Mr. Dobson shouldn’t be doing is prejudging the witness prior to the end of the testimony and in the middle of the question that he is asking her. Mr. Schneider stated for those reasons, he is giving the appearance of impropriety, which deprives AVS of due process of law, and therefore I think he needs to recuse himself.

 

Mr. Toadvine stated the Board would take a five-minute break to concur.

 

The Board reconvened from its break and Mr. Dobson re-called the meeting order.   Mr. Toadvine stated there is a motion to recuse Mr. Dobson filed by the Applicant and the question is whether he should be recused.  He asked if there is a motion on the floor.  Mr. Bamburak moved to deny the motion for recusal and Mr. Caiola seconded.  Mr. Schneider asked if he could object. He stated he does not think this is a matter for the Board as a whole this is Mr. Dobson’s issue.  Mr. Toadvine stated Mr. Dobson would vote on that motion.

 

The motion carried unanimously.

 

Mr. Caiola asked he could have information about the case that Mr. Koopman and Mr. Schneider had referenced, the Bryant Woods case.  He asked if they could please cite the case.  Mr.

Schneider stated he has the Lapid Laurel cite which is in the motion to recuse.  Mr. Koopman stated the Bryant Woods cite is 124 Fed. 3rd 597.

 

Mr. Toadvine stated he was not at the last meeting and at the end of the hearing Ms. Deans was still testifying, correct?  Mr. Schneider replied yes but Mr. Koopman, Mr. DeGrezia and he had a telephone conversation initiated at the direction of a Board member and want to call one witness before the cross-examination and could finish fairly quickly.  Mr. Koopman stated that Mr. DeGrezia indicated that they had no objection to that.  Mr. Toadvine stated that is fine and we would call Ms. Deans for cross.  Mr. Schneider stated or Mr. Champ.

 

Mr. Schneider called his witness, Mrs. Elizabeth DiRenzo who was sworn in by the Court Reporter.  Mr. Schneider asked Mrs. DiRenzo if she lives in Lower Makefield.  She replied yes.  Mr. Schneider asked her if she has a daughter with mental retardation.  Mrs. DiRenzo replied yes.  Mr. Schneider asked her name and Mrs. DiRenzo stated her name is Jessica.  Mr. Schneider asked if Jessica is going into one of the three homes that AVS plans to open.  Mrs. DiRenzo replied yes.  Mr. Schneider asked how old Jessica is and Mrs. DiRenzo said she is twenty-seven years old.  Mr. Schneider asked if she lives away from home now.  Mrs. DiRenzo replied yes, she lives at AVS, Philadelphia campus.  Mr. Schneider asked how long has she lived away from home.  Mrs. DiRenzo stated she has been away for nineteen years.  Mr. Schneider asked id she keeps in touch with her at the AVS campus.  Mrs. DiRenzo replied yes, we take her home every Sunday and spend the day with her at home, bring her back Sunday night and she is home for all holidays.  Mr. Schneider asked how many days a year does Jessica spend at home with you.  Mrs. DiRenzo replied fifty to sixty days per year.  Mr. Schneider asked if she was told there would be six residents at the group home that Jessica would be moving to if we get the approval.  She replied yes.  Mr. Schneider stated there are approximately one hundred twenty-eight residents that live at the AVS location where she resides now.  Mrs. DiRenzo stated yes. Mr. Schneider asked based on her knowledge of Jessica as her mother, what is your opinion about

what benefit she may receive from living with only six other mentally retarded people.  Mrs.

DiRenzo stated Jessica does very well in small groups and I look at the smaller group home as a

surrogate family setting.  Mr. Schneider asked what is Jessica’s reaction to larger groups of people.  She stated unfortunately as we saw tonight she has an adverse reaction to large groups, she has an acute sense of hearing and sometimes a lot of noise or people will make her very uncomfortable.  Mr. Schneider asked does Jessica have any program of training that she undergoes at AVS.  Mrs. DiRenzo replied yes, she has IEP that is reviewed four times a year where Jessica’s father and I and any other member of the family are invited to attend, and she has goals set for her by the therapist and professionals.  At those meetings we are informed of the goals that are set for her and how they intend to accomplish and when she accomplishes them.  Mr. Schneider asked for some examples of those goals.  She stated we have to remember Jessica has a mental age of nine to eleven months, but she is twenty-seven years old, so as many of her teachers have told me, she is really not the same as a nine or eleven month old child would be because her experiences encompass twenty-seven years.  Some of her goals are very simple for example after she finishes eating they would like her to be able to pick up a napkin or a wash cloth and wipe her face herself and do that with a hand over hand motion until she is able to do it herself. Another goal is for Jessica is to be able to eat by herself and so far she has not accomplished that goal but they attempt hand over hand. Other goals for Jessica is to be able to wipe her place clean after she eats and for her to be able comb her hair.

 

Mr. Schneider asked what effect do you think it will have on Jessica’s ability to work on her goals living in a group home of six as opposed to an institution with 128 people?  Mrs. DiRenzo stated she thinks it would have a very beneficial effect because she works well in smaller groups and will have individualized attention.  Mr. Schneider asked what about getting along with her housemates, will that have beneficial effect?  Mrs. DiRenzo stated yes it would.  Jessica is very sociable; she is a very friendly person. She was raised in a family of six and is the youngest of six children and her brother and sisters spent that time with her when she was home spoiling her and loving her.  I have been told by all of the teachers and the therapist that have worked with Jessica that she is very sociable, is very open to learning and she is one of the residents that it is

very easy to work with and I personally believe this because of spending the eight years with her

brothers and sisters.  Mr. Schneider stated that you have indicated that you thought it would be

good because Jessica would get individual attention being in a small group home.  Mrs. DiRenzo replied yes and Mr. Schneider asked how is that?  She replied I think that her attention will be focused if she is in a smaller group home. She will have less distraction and will have a more, I don’t want to say regimented, but would be on a schedule.  In a smaller group she is going to behave in a better way and I believe that. She works well in small groups and in a group home with less people and with the residents she will learn more quickly. Maybe she will accomplish her goals more rapidly.

 

Mr. Schneider asked based on your knowledge of Jessica as her mother would living in the community benefit her.  Mrs. DiRenzo replied definitely and Mr. Schneider asked how is that. Mrs. DiRenzo stated Jessica is a very sociable person she loves people. When she was younger and we were able to transport her on outings we would take her to different places. She is not able to verbalize completely but she has her own method of communication and we understand her very clearly. She does say “hi” and when she would see teenagers or children of her own age and adults she would attempt to speak to them and say “hi” and try to wave and not very many people respond to a handicap person. I guess they don’t quite know how to approach them and much of that is fear I understand but she will try to say “hi” and make contact with people. She loves teenagers, little children and adults too. She loved going to the zoo.  Mr. Schneider asked are there any other things in the community she enjoys.  Mrs. DiRenzo replied yes, the Allegheny people actually took her skiing, believe that or not for all her disabilities. They had special equipment, took her skiing and she just loved that. She also rides horseback and has private lessons once a week at a stable for handicapped people called Pegasus. She takes private lessons her father funds, which are not paid by any tax money.  Mr. Schneider asked being exposed to things like the zoo and the mall, what effect does that have on Jessica in your experience.  Mrs. DiRenzo stated she is very happy in those places, she is content and has way of communicating to us and communicates her happy sounds.  She can convey that even though she

does not verbalize the way we do, she conveys that she very happy and I believe in my heart, as does anyone who has worked handicapped people that it expands her experiences. Mr. Schneider

asked is there any spiritual dimension to her being in the community that would benefit her.  Mrs. DiRenzo replied yes, this is very close to my heart. She is a Catholic as I am and we belong to St. Ignatius Church and actually Jessica was born just about a ¼ of a mile from here. She was baptized at St Ignatius Church and when she was smaller I could take her to church with us. She has received Baptism, and she has received the sacrament of Holy Eucharist and the only time that she has been able to receive holy communion has been when my sister, her aunt who is a Sister of Mercy brings her communion as a Eucharistic Minister. So living in the community, Jessica will be a member of St. Ignatius and she will go to church with me and we will go to communion together. Mr. Schneider asked does St. Ignatius have other Eucharist Ministers that could administer communion to her during the week?  Mrs. DiRenzo replied yes they do, but Allegheny Valley told me that since the house it is so close to St. Ignatius they would be able to transport her to mass, which is a fond wish of mine and I can’t tell you what that would mean to me. So she would be able to go to church with me.

 

Mr. Schneider stated you have been told that there will be a house parent living in the group home.  Mrs. Schneider replied yes. Mr. Schneider stated based on your knowledge of Jessica and being her mother what is your opinion of how that would benefit Jessica?  Mrs. DiRenzo stated a housemother would be her surrogate mother and Jessica recognizes a mother figure. She knows me and I think that having a housemother would be like having a surrogate mother.  Mr. Schneider asked what benefits does having a mother figure have to her.  Mrs. DiRenzo stated the same as it has to any other child. She has someone to take care of her, someone that she will look to take care of her and I would think that she would transfer that mother figure to the surrogate mother. I think it would give her a sense of stability to have a surrogate mother definitely.  Mr. Schneider asked what do you mean by a sense of stability.  Mrs. DiRenzo stated security.  She would feel secure having the same person there she would recognize.  Mr. Schneider stated the house parent’s spouse would also live in the group home. Do you think that it would have a benefit for Jessica?  Mrs. DiRenzo replied yes I do and Mr. Schneider asked how is that.  Mrs. DiRenzo stated I think that the house parent spouse would represent the father figure and that way she would have a mother and a father figure. Mr. Schneider asked what if the house parent

has up to two children at the group home.  Mrs. DiRenzo replied yes that is fine and Mr. Schneider asked how is that.  Mrs. DiRenzo stated as she mentioned before, Jessica grew up in a family of six and she is the youngest of six children and she knows nothing but love and affection from her brothers and sister who spent all their time with her as she was growing up. They sang to her, they danced with her, they taught her how to say words and so she has a very positive outlook on teenagers and children and would love that in the home.  I think she transfers that from her brothers and sisters to teenagers and children.  Mr. Schneider stated he had no further questions.

 

Mr. Toadvine asked if anyone on the Board had any question for Mrs. DiRenzo.

 

Mr. Koopman asked Mrs. DiRenzo how long has Jessica been with Allegheny, did she go right from living with you to Allegheny and has she known any other type of group home.  Mrs. DiRenzo replied no.  She asked are you talking about the facility itself?  Mr. Koopman asked in other words how long has she been part of the Allegheny system?  Mrs. DiRenzo stated she has lived in that facility on Vree and Red Lion Road for nineteen years.  Mr. Koopman asked for nineteen years?  Mrs. DiRenzo stated she lived with us for eight years.  Mr. Koopman stated he thought he heard her say that but wasn’t sure if there was anything before the Allegheny.  He stated to Mrs. DiRenzo that she said the Allegheny facility. Is that the Greenwich facility? Mrs. DiRenzo replied no. Mr. Koopman repeated that is not the Greenwich facility. He said that is what he is trying to understand.  Mrs. DiRenzo replied the Greenwich facility, as she understands it is an altogether different facility that is not even located in that area which is separate from Allegheny Valley. She never resided at Greenwich nor was she ever a part of it.  Mr. Koopman stated his impression was that the residents being relocated into the group homes in this area were going to be relocated from the Greenwich facility. What Allegheny facility is Jessica currently located at?  Mrs. DiRenzo stated she is located at the Allegheny Valley School Philadelphia campus on Vree and Red Lion Roads.  Mr. Koopman stated he is not familiar with

that facility. Is that a large institution type facility?  Mrs. DiRenzo replied about 125 residents. 

Mrs. DiRenzo stated she has been at that facility for nineteen years. Mr. Koopman asked has Allegheny Valley School been the operator of that facility for those nineteen years?  Mrs. DiRenzo replied no. Mr. Koopman asked how long has Allegheny been the operator of that facility approximately? Mrs. DiRenzo stated since 1985. When she first went to that school it was called Pine Valley. Then a few years later it was transferred to a facility called Combined Associates.  Mr. Koopman asked as the operator of the facility?  Mrs. DiRenzo replied she has been in the same location and then Allegheny moved in.  Mr. Koopman asked somewhere in the mid 1980’s?  Mrs. DiRenzo replied somewhere in that time range.  Mr. Koopman stated he had no further questions.

 

Mr. DeGrezia stated to Mrs. DiRenzo that he assumes her daughter is going to be located at the North Crescent facility or do you not know what facility.  Mrs. DiRenzo replied she thought she would be at the North Crescent home.  Mr. Schneider stated there would six females at the Yardley Road home. Mr. DeGrezia asked what is her classification in terms of disability, is she severe?  Mrs. DiRenzo stated she is severely and profoundly retarded. She has motor and mental retardation and she is in a wheelchair.  Mr. DeGrezia stated he believes in the North Crescent home there are five proposed residents in wheelchairs and the Yardley Road home six. There are also four other people that are profound.  Under state regulations there is a standard of four people per group home for these facilities. Allegheny Valley is proposing six without increasing the number of employees. In other words, the facility in Lower Makefield will have two aids and we are talking about personalized care. Would you prefer to have a better ratio of care for your daughter, in other words, two care givers for four people?  Mrs. DiRenzo stated she wanted to clarify something. She is not exactly sure and maybe someone from Allegheny Valley could answer this exactly, but she is under the impression that it was going to be three to six people from the beginning. Mr. DeGrezia stated it has been clarified that there are going to be six people.  Mrs. DiRenzo stated definitely six people at North Crescent.   Mr. DeGrezia stated that violates the state housing restrictions. Mr. Schneider stated he is going to object to this question. He is making a legal argument on this question and he is asking her for legal conclusions.  Mr. Toadvine stated we are going to sustain the objection, rephrase your question.  Mr. DeGrezia

stated assuming at the prior testimony the state policy of four residents per group home and the zoning ordinance allowed at that. Would you prefer to have your daughter in a group home that had three other mentally retarded people rather than the six where she would get more personalized care?  Mr. Schneider asked Mrs. DiRenzo if she understood the question. If you don’t, ask him to re-phrase.  Mr. DeGrezia stated you indicated that personalized care was important.  She asked what do mean by personalized care one on one. I don’t expect that.  Mr. DeGrezia stated the distinction here is in the facility that your daughter will be located there six people rather than four. In many cases they need help getting up, bathed, showering, eating. There are only two people washing them that means they have to choose who to help at that moment. Mrs. DiRenzo stated one to three is that what you are saying.  It doesn’t matter to me.  Mr. DeGrezia asked it doesn’t matter to you?  She stated no I think that one to three or one to two is just as well, I was one person to six children.  Mr. DeGrezia, asked Mrs. DiRenzo you wouldn’t mind four to six people in wheelchairs going out to an event with only two people?  She replied I wouldn’t object to that.  Mr. DeGrezia asked wouldn’t you prefer to have two people to four people.  She replied it wouldn’t matter to me because the level of professionalism of the staff is so amazing. They took my daughter skiing.  Mr. DeGrezia stated that she said Jessica spent sixteen years at the facility with one resident and that she is better in small groups.  She stated it would not matter to Jessica.  He asked if she thinks that all of the people being relocated have the same care issues or more intensive care issues more appropriate for an institutionalized setting.  She asked if he meant that she believes that the residents being moved into the group homes have deficiencies that would require and institutionalized setting?  Mr. DeGrezia said her daughter is in that facility now with one hundred twenty-five people, do you think it is appropriate to move those people into a group home?  Mr. Schneider stated he does not think Mr. DeGrezia has foundation for this question and it has not been established that all one hundred twenty-five people are going.  Mr. Toadvine said that would be sustained.  Mr. DeGrezia stated one of the concerns here is that the group home being proposed is at a greater density than what is allowed under the ordinance.  The group that he represents has formed based on concerns of the integrity of the zoning plan.  They are not against the disabled, against the

density.  He stated that Mrs. DiRenzo indicated that bringing her daughter to an environment in

the community is very important.  From the prospective of a neighborhood, wouldn’t you feel that it would be more appropriate to comply with the state code and the Zoning Ordinance to avoid alienating the home.  Mr. Schneider objected on several bases.  He believes he is asking for a legal conclusion and also believes that Mrs. DiRenzo wasn’t offered as a Zoning expert, she was offered to testify about the effects on Jessica and it is well beyond the scope of the direct. 

 

Mr. Toadvine sustained the objection.

 

Mr. DeGrezia asked Mrs. DiRenzo if she is aware if the level of experience and training for the family caregivers in the home with her daughter?  She replied yes.  He asked what are the qualifications that Allegheny looks for in providers.  Mr. Schneider objected to this as beyond the scope of direct. He will have Mr. Champ answer on the stand on cross.  Mr. Toadvine sustained the objection.  Mr. DeGrezia said that Mrs. DiRenzo indicated that she visited her child at the prior facility roughly fifty or sixty times a year.  She replied yes.  He asked how many times she plans to visit her daughter at the new facility?  She replied yes, she would comply with the regulations that there are limits to the yearly visits and Allegheny has informed her of those limits.  She said she knows she can only take her child home seventy-two overnights, that is the limit and there is no limit on visiting.  He asked if she feels that she will visit her more than one hundred times?  Mr. Toadvine asked what is the relevance here?  I assume you are married, you have a mother-in-law, father-in-law, do you ask them how many times they are going to visit you?  Mr. DeGrezia stated he thinks this is an important issue here because her testimony as to parking and what is available.  Mr. Toadvine asked if we limit any of these residents to how many visits the can have?  Mr. DeGrezia stated the issue here is we have a use with a typical four family person family, which is that of parents and their family and we have an additional six unrelated people.  It is different than what would typically be found in this community.  So we need to understand what the parking impact will be.  It goes to Zoning and Planning and the impact on the community and directly within the pervue of this Board and is a relevant issue.  Mrs. DiRenzo asked if she should answer the question and Mr. Schneider stated yes she could

answer.  Mrs. DiRenzo stated she lives in the area, and so do her children and if it would so upset the neighbors with the parking issue and it becomes and terrible issue, then my children, there of four of them that drive, would happily drive me to see her drop me off and get the car out of the way.  Mr. DeGrezia asked in addition to parents do you think siblings would also visit?  She replied yes.  Mr. DeGrezia stated he had no more questions.

 

Mr. Dobson asked if there are any more questions.  Mr. Bamburak stated to Mr. Schneider that he was confused; he thought all of these group homes, which are being put together, were for residents leaving Greenwich.  Mr. Schneider they are to accommodate the number of residents in Greenwich, but not every Greenwich resident is an appropriate candidate for community living.  So those people will go to Vree Road and other Vree Road residents who are appropriate for community living would come into the community.  Mr. Bamburak said all eighty-four people are going but some are going to the community and others going to facilities.   Mr. Schneider said the point is finding eighty-four beds.  Mr. Dobson asked if there are any other questions.

 

Mr. Schneider asked if the Board wanted to examine Mr. Champ.  Mr. Koopman stated why don’t we finish Ms. Deans.  Mr. Toadvine stated we are continuing the cross examination of Ms. Deans stating the she was under oath the last time so she is still under oath.  Mr. Koopman stated that his associate Ms. McGrath asked her questions last time and has a few more questions for her.  He stated there were some question about some exhibits, A-29 and A-30, those were the proposals from Allegheny Valley School and the state’s response to that.  He stated he wanted to clarify a few things.  He asked her to look at A-30 first, the state’s response, and the letter to the state accepting the Allegheny Valley proposal subject to certain conditions.  Mr. Koopman stated we talked about item six on that letter which is the desire that these houses will be downsized from a six-person facility eventually.  In paragraph six there is that condition of downsizing, but there is a proviso that says unless instructed to do otherwise by OMR.  The state is leaving themselves an out if the Governor doesn’t approve increases in the budget.  Ms. Deans stated that is correct. Mr. Koopman stated that would result in, although not anticipated by you, not downsizing these houses in accordance with what the plan is.  She replied that is correct, if the

money is not approved in the Governor’s budget than the time period for the downsizing would be extended.  It is still OMR’s position that all these homes will be downsized to four beds.  Mr. Koopman stated that OMR would like to downsize them because your policy is the four bedroom homes are preferred.  She stated the policy is what we prefer.  Mr. Koopman stated that is OMR policy, but that has to be funded by the governor or the downsizing is not going to take place.  Ms. Deans stated additional funding yes.  Mr. Koopman stated she indicated the funding was originally set for the 2005/2006 or 2004/2006 fiscal year.  Ms. Deans stated the project began in 2004/2005.  We had anticipated the facility would be closed by the June 30, 2005, but because of delays of zoning and other issues the facility is still open.  Mr. Koopman stated since then the original financial reviews and proposal another fiscal year has come and gone. We are now in the 2005/2006 fiscal year.  Did the state provide or authorize any additional funding for this project for the 2005/2006 fiscal year?  Ms. Deans replied no.  At the time this proposal was approved it was too late in the state budget process to request those funds.  I am currently in the process of putting together the 2006/2007 budget and that is one of my line items to request funds to downsize two of these homes.  Mr. Koopman stated that is not the way he understood her testimony.  The original proposal, Exhibit A-29, was in October 2004.  Ms. Deans replied yes.  Mr. Koopman asked when did she submit her budget for 2005/2006.  Ms. Deans replied August.  He asked August of what year.  She replied August 2004.  Mr. Koopman stated August 2004 is your budget proposal for 2005.  Ms. Deans replied yes. 

 

Mr. Toadvine directed Ms. Deans to wait to talk until Mr. Koopman is done talking.  Mr. Koopman stated that budget proposal was in based on the original Greenwich funding.  Are you working on your budget proposal for 2006/2007 fiscal year?  She replied yes.  Mr. Koopman asked if a request for increase has been put in.  Ms. Deans replied yes.  Mr. Koopman asked if the Governor has acted on that yet.  Ms. Deans replied no, he would not act on that until the budget is approved for 2006/2007, which will not be until June 2006.  Mr. Koopman stated, as he understands her budget request goes in almost a year before funding.  Ms. Deans stated the budget goes from her office to the Department office, to the Governor, then to the Legislature for approval.  Mr. Koopman stated that you wouldn’t know until the next budget year that the house

could be downsized.  Ms. Deans stated they would know by April if it were approved.  Mr. Koopman stated the budget has to go through the Governor then the Legislature.  Ms. Deans stated she has never had a downsizing request denied.

 

Mr. Koopman asked Ms. Deans if her job title is budget analyst.  Ms. Deans stated she is a Budget Analyst 3.  Mr. Koopman asked if she worked for the Department of Public Welfare, Room 411, Forester Street, Harrisburg, PA.  Ms. Deans replied yes.  Mr. Koopman asked Ms. Deans if she is a certified public accountant. She replied no.  She is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a minor in humanities.  Mr. Koopman asked if her department approved the purchase of the homes.  Ms. Deans replied no.  Mr. Koopman asked if the state approved the purchase of the homes.  Ms. Deans replied no.  Mr. Koopman stated the average cost of the homes is $560,000 including renovations.  How did Allegheny arrive at $560,000 as the average cost to be spent on each home to provide for eighty-four beds, referring to Exhibit A-29, and asked where does the $560,000 come from?  Ms. Deans stated the proposal says $590,000 and she did not say that.  Mr. Koopman asked if she has her prior testimony in front of her?  Ms. Deans replied no.  Mr. Koopman read the July 19, 2005 transcript where Ms. Deans says “we anticipate the cost of the homes to be $565,000.”  He asked where did she get that number?  Ms. Deans stated that number is stuck in her head.  Mr. Koopman stated the numbers are from the Allegheny budget.  Ms. Deans stated the cost of the home is the entire home, operating costs, staff, renovations, etc.  Mr. Koopman stated Allegheny purchased homes that cost $600,000.  Her testimony states she made no analysis to cost.  Mr. Schneider stated an objection on a lack of foundation and Mr. Koopman is not accurate stating Ms. Deans testimony.  Mr. Toadvine overruled the objection.  Ms. Deans asked Mr. Koopman to repeat the question.  Mr. Koopman asked did she not inquire into the cost of the homes.  Ms. Deans replied no.  Mr. Koopman stated other than the cost of the home, did she look at the cost and numbers to run the home, noting four pages of Group Home Operating costs comparison.  He asked did she look at what it should cost to run six bedroom homes to see if the property was reasonable and what were they compared to.  Ms. Deans stated they were compared to homes in the Southeast region of Bucks, Berks,

Philadelphia, Montgomery and Chester Counties.  Mr. Koopman asked if any of those have

compared.  Ms. Deans stated she could get them.  Mr. Koopman asked if she just looked at the Southeast region.  Ms. Deans stated she would need to look at her notes.  Mr. Koopman asked did Allegheny submit anything else and does Allegheny do an audit?  Ms. Deans stated Allegheny never failed to meet budget to downsize homes.  She stated all have stayed within budget.

 

Mr. Koopman asked Ms. Deans does she rely on the budget Allegheny gives her.  Ms. Deans stated she examines every budget.  Mr. Koopman asked if the state performs any audits. She stated as long as they stay within budget and funds are appropriated properly. 

Mr. Koopman asked Ms. Deans to refer to Exhibit A-29 the operating budget, apportioned costs, healthcare for a four bed home and general administration.  He asked what is apportioned cost.  Ms. Deans stated they change the homes fixed costs based on the number of beds.  Mr. Koopman asked if the wages for the house parent are included in those costs.  Ms. Deans stated yes.  Mr. Koopman asked if nurses are contracted out.  She said Allegheny has nurses on staff at a fixed cost.  Mr. Koopman referring to depreciation of a four-bed facility asked where is the number derived from.  Ms. Deans stated the cost of the home depreciated over twenty-five years.  Mr. Koopman asked Ms. Deans how she arrived at assuming $590,000 per house by twenty-five years.  Did she make a recommendation to the department to approve?  Ms. Deans stated yes.  Mr. Koopman stated he did the math and came up with $23,880.  Ms. Deans stated it is not a straight calculation because you need to add in startup costs and the value of the house.  She stated there is no startup costs attributed to these houses.  Forty-five to ninety days prior to the opening of the house startup costs are staff training, equipment, etc.  She referred to the Schedule with nine lines of depreciation issues.  Mr. Koopman asked what the capital interest cost of $45,037 represents.  She stated capitalization of costs on a six-bed house.  Mr. Koopman stated he had a few more questions.

 

A brief recess was taken. The meeting reconvened five minutes later. 

 

Mr. Koopman asked to continue the overview of the A-29 Exhibit and asked if the costs are the

same for four, five or six bed homes. Ms. Deans stated she read the overview of the capital cost summary and the assumption is the cost per home will be the same whether it is licensed for four, five or six beds. Mr. Koopman asked did you make any investigation or inquiry into the accuracy of that assumption for total capital cost?  Ms. Deans replied no. That would make sense to me because they would be associated with the building itself so whether you have four, five or six people the capital cost shouldn’t change. Mr. Koopman asked they shouldn’t?  Wouldn’t you think that normally all others being equal, a smaller house would cost less than a bigger house?  Ms. Deans replied yes.  Mr. Koopman stated then wouldn’t it also follow from that normally all other things being equal, a home that can house four people may cost less because it is smaller than a home than can house six people.  She stated this was based on using the same house for each one of the proposals.  Mr. Koopman asked does it say that anywhere?   Ms. Deans replied yes.  Mr. Koopman stated the same house.  He said, as he understands your assumption that this whole proposal was based upon Allegheny buying houses and paying for houses that could accommodate six clients.   Ms. Deans stated the cost of the house whether it was for four, five or six should have been relatively the same. There is very little difference between the square footage sizes I believe. This is not my area of expertise; I do not purchase the houses. 

 

Mr. Koopman stated my question started out with did you make any inquiry to the accuracy assumption. But you did agree with me that other than being equal one would think that a smaller house would cost less than a bigger house.  Ms. Deans stated if it was a smaller house, yes.  Mr. Koopman asked wouldn’t you also agree with me that a house that could accommodate four people could be a smaller house than a house that needs to house six people.  Ms. Deans stated it depends on the people. Four ambulatory people would need a smaller house. Four non-ambulatory people would need a larger house. Mr. Koopman asked would the ambulatory people need a larger house.  Ms. Deans stated no. The ambulatory people would need use a smaller house.  Mr. Koopman asked why is that.  She stated because you don’t have to accommodate the wheelchairs. That has to do with the hallways and the doorways that are wide enough and that is the difference. As I said the cost of the house is not my area expertise, I leave that up to the provider agency.

 

Mr. Koopman asked if he is correct that the cost of the repair or renovations to the houses is not her area of expertise.  Ms. Deans stated no.  Mr. Koopman stated he thought she said that her assumption that these were all homes on one floor with a basement possibly.  Ms. Deans stated that is what most of our homes are.  Mr. Koopman asked if she has had any chance to check that further since the last hearing that assumption.  Ms. Deans stated no.  Mr. Koopman asked when you guessed your comparison and looked at the other group homes, did you have the cost summaries for the other group homes in the Southeastern Pennsylvania area?  Ms. Deans stated when I say the cost I mean the cost of the real estate.  Mr. Koopman asked if she has information on that.  Ms. Deans stated no.  Mr. Koopman stated asked you don’t?  She said I don’t require it.  Mr. Koopman stated the proposal from Allegheny is submitted to you and contained on the last page a capital summary that had to do with the cost of real estate.  Ms. Deans stated at the time the other group homes were proposed with only the initial budget submitted I am sure I had that the cost documentation at that time but those homes had been opened for quite some time.  Mr. Koopman asked had they all been opened for sometime.  Ms. Deans stated in the Southeastern region, I believe so. Off the top of my head I don’t recall any six-person homes being opened in the southeast region.  Mr. Koopman asked how about four person homes?  Ms. Deans stated she did don’t think so.  I think there were a few five-person homes from a facility that lost its lease and had to move to a new facility but I am not sure that they purchased those homes. I would have to go back and look at my records, I honestly don’t know.  Mr. Koopman stated I guess what we are trying to get at is do you have any records as the supervising agency, as to what the cost of other similar group homes in the Southeastern Pennsylvania area have been operating at since 2000.  Ms. Deans stated no.   Mr. Koopman stated you don’t think you have those?  Ms. Deans stated I know I don’t have those and I would not have them for any reason. That is not the kind of information I would keep on hand.

 

Mr. Koopman stated Allegheny submits a proposal for a group home they factor in as part of their cost, I assume routinely, depreciation and capital interest and that depends on the price of the home doesn’t it.  Ms. Deans stated remember this is just the proposal. At the time Allegheny

Valley School actually puts together a budget for a specific home at that time they would be required to submit documentation to support these costs. At that time I would require them to submit estimates for the cost of other homes in the area. I do not mean now.  Mr. Koopman stated that is fine but you have somewhere in your records documentation regarding the cost of group homes in the Southeastern Pennsylvania area.  Ms. Deans stated no I don’t keep that.  Mr. Koopman stated I thought you said that when you actually got financial information from them.   She stated in the initial budget, but the initial budget for these other homes would have been maybe ten years ago. We don’t keep that record that long.   Mr. Koopman stated he understands if the home was bought ten years ago, but if a home was bought four or five years ago you would think Allegheny would have those records. She stated it’s possible.  Mr. Koopman asked aren’t there records for the cost of those homes.  Ms. Deans stated yes there should be.  Mr. Koopman stated that is all I have.

 

Mr. Schneider asked if he could redirect.  Mr. Toadvine asked him to wait until later.  Mr. Toadvine asked Mr. DeGrezia if he has any questions.

 

Mr. DeGrezia stated Ms. Deans indicated that she was an expert on what a facility is. This reading of the ordinance was that it appeared to relate to intermediate care facilities and that you were there to distinguish intermediate care facilities for the mentally retarded.  Ms. Deans stated yes that is right.   Mr. DeGrezia asked what is the basis of your belief that intermediate care facilities for mentally retarded are not quite a subset of intermediate care facilities.  Ms. Deans stated based on the fact that they are governed by different state regulations and different federal regulations.  Mr. DeGrezia stated basically the Commonwealth has a different definition and included that is the subset without changing their minds.  Ms. Deans stated of course.  Mr. DeGrezia asked if she was familiar with the Healthcare Facility Act, which governs the creation of intermediate care facilities for mentally retarded.  Ms. Deans stated yes. Mr. DeGrezia stated it talks about certificates of need and requirements. Under that title, Title 28, there is a section of the definition, Section 401.2, which defines intermediate care facility.  Ms. Deans asked could he refer us to what title he is referring to, Title 28 of what.  Mr. DeGrezia stated Title 28 is Health

and Safety.  Ms. Deans stated what code.  He stated it is Pennsylvania Administrative Code, which basically is called the Healthcare Facility Act covering the creation of these facilities.

I am referring to 28 PA code Section 401.2, part 4 called Health Facilities, subpart B called Health Planning Chapter 401, called certificate of need program. The definition provides care facilities exclusively for mentally retarded persons are considered intermediate care facilities for the purpose of this act.   Mr. Degrezia asked if this could be entered into evidence. 

 

Mr. Schneider stated he thinks this is a legal argument.  Mr. Toadvine stated to Mr. DeGrezia you can’t enter this into evidence when you are cross-examining a witness. If you want to look at something and ask questions that is fine but if you are going to introduce it into evidence you are not going to do this through this witness.  Mr. Schneider stated this is irrelevant because my memory is that your ordinance refers to a definition as the state in licensing these facilities and a certificate of need is different from a license in addition to being an improper way. Mr. Toadvine stated I don’t think there is a question yet so how can we object.

 

Mr. DeGrezia stated the question is the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania under the Healthcare Facilities Act considers independent care facilities to be part of the subcategory of independent care facilities. Wouldn’t you agree that an ordinance could also have that interpretation?  Mr. Schneider stated that he is asking for a legal opinion. Mr. Toadvine stated the objection is sustained. 

 

Mr. DeGrezia stated Ms. Deans was brought on as an expert to distinguish between intermediate care.  Mr. Toadvine stated she is not a legal expert. You are asking her to difference between a state statute and an ordinance.  Mr. DeGrezia stated I am asking her for her opinion. The administrated code has a different definition than her opinion.   Mr. Toadvine stated the objection has been sustained.

 

Mr. DeGrezia asked Ms. Deans if she indicated that nursing care was or was not a primary

function of the immediate care facility.  She stated it depends on the needs of the individual. Some individuals need nursing service some do not.  Mr. DeGrezia asked is the need depending on how the individuals are characterized.   Ms. Deans stated based on their physical condition.

Mr. DeGrezia stated in earlier testimony a couple of questions brought up square footage.  You indicated the square foot requirement for certain facilities. Does your belief stem from state or federal regulation.  Ms. Deans stated federal regulation.  Mr. DeGrezia asked could you give us

a specific cite. Ms. Deans stated no.  Mr. DeGrezia asked if it is her belief that a facility for four individuals would have the same square foot requirements for six individuals.  Ms. Deans stated no it does not.  The square footage in the federal regulation is based upon individual people. Mr. DeGrezia asked do you know how much requirement is per person.  Ms. Deans stated no, I don’t want to say and then say the wrong thing. If I had any doubts I would go back and refer to the Federal Regulations.  Mr. DeGrezia stated the more people you basically put in a home the more economically feasible it would be.  Ms. Deans stated it depends on the needs of the people.

Mr. DeGrezia stated if you had a facility with eight people is the budget going to be more or less than twenty-four four-bedroom homes.  Ms. Deans stated it would be less. Mr. DeGrezia stated Ms. Deans indicated there are C-1 occupancy requirement. Could you describe that?  She stated that comes under the department of Health Life and Safety Codes. I am not an expert on that; remember I am a financial person.

 

Mr. DeGrezia asked does your dept have any responsibility or action going into and looking at the proposed facility or is that different?  Ms. Deans stated that is the dept of health. The Department of Health is the survey unit of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania prior to certification and then annually it is inspectors from the Department of Health go in to inspect the facilities.  Mr. DeGrezia asked do you know if the standards apply to all of the applicants that live in the facility or just to those with developmental disabilities? Ms. Deans stated that she did not understand. Mr. DeGrezia asked do you have standards for access to bedrooms or are they only concerned with those that are relevant to developmentally disabled.  Ms. Deans stated the only people who would be in the facility would be people who are mentally disabled.  Mr. DeGrezia asked what about the house manager.   Ms. Deans stated the needs of the facility are

based upon the people who live there.  Mr. DeGrezia stated you indicated that immediate care facilities for the mentally retarded must be a minimum of four or maximum of four.  Ms. Deans stated they must be a minimum of four.  Mr. DeGrezia asked what is the basis for this requirement?  Ms. Deans stated the requirement is a Federal Regulation.  Mr. DeGrezia asked her to cite to us a specific code?  Ms. Deans stated it is in the Federal Regulation and could point it out to you in the federal regulation.  Mr. DeGrezia stated the Commonwealth has a separate policy. Ms. Deans replied no. Mr. DeGrezia stated the Commonwealth policy doesn’t limit it to a maximum of four. Ms. Deans stated no, our policy says that we prefer to have four. We do not have state regulations, which set a number. Mr. DeGrezia stated according to the Federal Regulations, you couldn’t have less than four to qualify as an intermediate care facility for the mentally retarded. There is no maximum in the regulations.

 

Are you familiar, under Title 55, Public Welfare under the Administrative Code, Section 6,000.821 that is entitled Criteria for Approval of New Intermediate Care Facilities for People with Mental Retardation?  Ms. Deans stated yes.  Mr. DeGrezia stated Section B indicates that the Office of Mental Retardation does not currently support the developing of new ICFNR proposals. This office will consider the following factors in determining whether to grant an extension to this policy. Factor one is new residential settings shall be designed so that the building fits into the residential neighborhood and is limited to four people. Doesn’t that codify the Pennsylvania Code?  Ms. Deans stated it also says we can waiver.  Mr. DeGrezia stated I believe the next sentence cites it shall…  Mr. Toadvine directed Mr. DeGrezia to ask her a question.  Mr. DeGrezia asked could you give me the Administrative Code cite that conflicts with this requirement? 

 

Mr. Schneider stated he is going to object. The assumption is that this is part of the Administrative Code. It identifies itself as a policy and there is nothing on the document itself that shows it was adopted and according with the state law of adopting regulations, I believe that

this is a mere policy and not actually a regulation adopted and I believe that the department is

going to be on him to show that because it identifies itself only as a policy. So I object the question.  Mr. Toadvine stated to Mr. DeGrezia why don’t you rephrase the question.  

Mr. DeGrezia stated if this is the policy articulated by the Commonwealth, are you familiar with any other policies that would conflict with this.  Ms. Deans stated we have a Chapter 1101 regulations, which are the exception to policy that we use whenever someone comes in, and wants to open a new ICF program. We use the Chapter 1101 regulation, Section 77A & B.  We also have a developmental bulletin which was issued in December of 1996 which again states our preference for a four person home but that developmental bulletin also says that exceptions to that policy will be considered on an individual bases and case by case bases.   But both of them don’t state it as a maximum. As a maximum it says we prefer four persons. It has always been our policy that we prefer four persons but that we entertain exception on a case-by-case basis.  Mr. DeGrezia asked what is the basis for that policy why four is preferred to six.  She stated I am not a policy person. 

 

Mr. DeGrezia stated the second line of this policy says the sites shall be dispersed within the community to foster social integration and participation with neighbors in the general population. Would you say that locating three of the fourteen homes in the same municipality in the same zone complies with this disbursement requirement. 

 

Mr. Schneider stated he thinks he is asking for a legal conclusion.  Ms. Deans stated we would find that acceptable.  We would not accept contiguous sites.  Mr. DeGrezia stated by contiguous you mean.  Ms. Deans stated not next to each other but it could be on the same street.   Mr. DeGrezia stated in those instances where you’ve taken exception to the policy of creating a group homes for more than four residents, were the approvals based on the funding.  Ms. Deans stated she is trying to recall what exceptions we have made to that limitation. I believe the last exception that we made to the four bed limitations were for those five person homes that I referenced earlier and we made the exception because it was an existing program that was merely moving to another location and we didn’t want to disrupt the program so we kept the program at the same size. I don’t believe the consideration was financial.  Mr. DeGrezia asked if

the three homes being located here were based on a financial conclusion.   Ms. Deans stated yes.  Mr. DeGrezia asked if she said there was a one hundred-eighty ICF MR facilities. She stated one hundred eighty-two non-state facilities and sixty-three of them are run by Allegheny Valley School.  Mr. DeGrezia stated in your early testimony, Allegheny indicated they had somewhere in the neighborhood of ninety-two to one hundred facilities. What is the discrepancy in the funding? Ms. Deans stated it is not discrepancy.  All those facilities that don’t come under ICFMR are counter wavier programs.  Ms. Deans stated under exhibit A-30 all twenty-four person homes will be converted to wavier programs. Fourteen homes will have a change in funding. Mr. DeGrezia asked eventually when the homes become four person homes they will convert to the wavier.  Ms. Deans stated yes. Mr. DeGrezia asked what section does that mean.   Ms. Deans stated it is a change in the funding.  Mr. DeGrezia stated basically the plan is to have the six person homes reduced to four over time and to convert to this program. Where does the funding source come from in the other program?  Ms. Deans stated it comes from the Office of Mental Retardation but it comes through the county program.   So right now the money is coming through the Department of Welfare. Mr. DeGrezia stated right now the money is coming directly from the Office of Mental Retardation and eventually it will be funded through the County.  Ms. Deans stated yes.  Mr. DeGrezia stated once it is categorized under the waiver program are there still surveys, reviews and inspections. Ms. Deans stated I am not an expert on the wavier program. I believe that there is a licensing service.  

 

Mr. DeGrezia stated I think you talked a little about the reputation of AVS and indicated that you have really no complaints about the care. You indicated that they have fine care and have had an excellent reputation and I think you said they frequently got perfect records with no deficiencies.

Ms. Deans stated what I said was that they received re-certification surveys with no deficiencies. Mr. DeGrezia stated by re-certification surveys you mean what?  Ms. Deans stated every year the Department of Health goes in and surveys each one of the programs to make sure they are in compliance with the Federal Regulations.  Mr. DeGrezia stated out of those you are saying that they keep perfect records with no deficiencies.   Ms. Deans stated they get a survey back that said no deficiencies.  Mr. DeGrezia stated when you say frequently what do you mean, 50% of

the time there was no deficiencies?  She states she can’t give you a number.   He asked for a ballpark number.  Are you talking about 95%, more often than not?  Ms. Deans stated more often than not I would say at least 50%.  Mr. DeGrezia asked would your conclusion change if you took a look at the sixty-two facilities surveyed over the last few years and learn that only twenty of them had no violations.  Ms. Deans stated no, I wasn’t sure.  Mr. DeGrezia stated it is much less than 50%, only about 30%.  Ms. Deans stated that is entirely possible. Mr. DeGrezia asked out of those facilities would you be surprised to learn that thirty-one of them had client care deficiencies ranging from over to under medications and failure to provide nursing.  Ms. Deans stated those are common things found in group homes.    Mr. DeGrezia stated common but still deficiencies. Ms. Deans stated Federal Regulations are very strict.   Mr. DeGrezia asked how would you compare over 50% deficiencies with client care to your statement that there are no complaints about the care of residents.  Ms. Deans stated what I had said was that I had never received complaints about residents. She stated a deficiency on a survey report is not a complaint against client care.  Mr. DeGrezia asked what is the procedure in place for you to receive a client

complaint.  Ms. Deans stated anyone who calls into the office. We have a hot line for anyone who has any concerns and they call into the Office of Mental Retardation and report a concern.

Mr. DeGrezia asked if a neighbor calls into the facility about you as house manager would you be notified of that complaint.   Ms. Deans stated possibly not.  Mr. DeGrezia asked if she is typically notified if there is a noise complaint or car doors slamming at eight in the morning?  She said yes.  Mr. DeGrezia stated you categorized the typical facilities that you review, one hundred eighty of them, as having an apartment type area for the house parents. Is that correct?  Ms. Deans stated yes Allegheny has house parents.  Mr. DeGrezia asked are there other exact similar facilities.  She stated yes. Mr. DeGrezia stated it is not a requirement of the state that house parents live on the premises. He stated yes.  Mr. DeGrezia stated it is not a requirement that they had their families there as well.  She stated yes. Mr. DeGrezia asked in these facilities would you say, in how many of them are there separate kitchens.  Ms. Deans stated she has no idea.  Mr. DeGrezia stated you categorize them as basically having two separate living facilities where you have the family, program manager and residents.  Ms. Deans stated that is my understanding but Mr. Champ could probably answer that question. 

 

Mr. DeGrezia stated if approval and permits are not timely secured for the fourteen new facilities what happens to the patients.  Ms. Deans stated they are patients they are people. The people will either go to the right facilities or move into the homes. Mr. DeGrezia asked and where is that?  She stated in Philadelphia.  Mr. DeGrezia asked how much occupancy does that facility have in terms of availability?

 

Mr. Schneider stated he is going to object. What relevance is this?  Mr. DeGrezia stated the question here is the state is forcing locations of six per house because of budget concerns and over time they will have money available will locate some of the people within other facilities when funding becomes available.  Mr. Toadvine stated there is an objection. Mr. Schneider stated what has happened here is the state has decided that Greenwich should close. Greenwich has eighty-four beds; the state has decided to enter into a new contract with AVS to provide eighty-four beds initially by fourteen to six group homes to be expanded to twenty-one to four person group homes. Whether or not, and the policy of the state has been clearly explained, the smaller the better. The state would like to see it four that is why even the contract is being

reduced to four. The fact that there maybe beds available at a larger facility is irrelevant to this proceeding.  Mr. Toadvine sustained the objection.

 

Mr. DeGrezia asked does the state ever consider local zoning laws.  Ms. Deans stated no.  Mr. DeGrezia asked are developmentally disabled treated differently by the state than the mentally retarded or are they the same?

 

Mr. Schneider stated I think this is beyond direct examination and beyond what she was prepared as an expert and I object.  Mr. Toadvine stated the objection is sustained.

 

Mr. DeGrezia stated Ms. Deans indicated that her understanding of the sixty-three or sixty-two facilities owned by Allegheny there is nineteen with four people located in them and twenty-three were six approximately. Ms. Deans stated she would have to check her records.   Mr. DeGrezia stated reviewing the surveys over the last three years indicates on occasion that there

are actually twenty-six four person and 1eighteen six person. Did you receive any documentation from AVC prior to the Oct 5, 2004 letter, Exhibit A-29? Ms. Deans stated yes.  He stated you previously testified that they had submitted a first proposal, which was rejected. Do you have any recollection of that?  Ms. Deans stated yes.  Mr. DeGrezia asked how would you characterize that first proposal?  She stated if she remembers correctly that was a proposal to downsize into all four-person homes and that exceeded the funding of what we had available and that is why it was rejected.  Mr. DeGrezia stated he had no further questions.

 

Mr. Allen asked Mr. Schneider if he would like to redirect Ms. Deans and he replied yes.  Mr. Schneider directed Ms. Deans to Exhibit 29. If AVS has submitted backup documentation along with that proposal would you have still checked the averages in the Southeastern region?  Ms. Deans stated yes.  Mr. Schneider directed Ms. Deans to the page that Mr. Koopman took her to with the depreciation and capital interest.  Does depreciation and capital interest include the amounts that the state will reimburse AVS for the homes?   Ms. Deans states yes.  He asked is it limited to that amount. Ms. Deans stated not necessarily. Mr. Schneider asked what else would go in there. Ms. Deans stated total depreciation would include the depreciation of the home, the depreciation of fixed assets that have a value of $500 or more or useful life of more than one year. It would also include the amortization of startup cost and would include the depreciation of any vehicles that were purchased.  Mr. Schneider asked what would capital interest include? She

stated that would include the amount of loan that the provider secured in order to fund the program.  Mr. Schneider asked is determining depreciation a simple matter of dividing the amount of money by the number of years.   Ms. Deans stated depreciation, yes.  He asked is determining capital interest the simple matter of dividing the amount of money by the number of years?  Ms. Deans stated no. I would request an amortization schedule from the lending agency to support those costs.   Mr. Schneider asked was the depreciation cost in this proposal within the averages that you looked at in the Southeastern.  Ms. Deans stated it is what I would have expected to find in these homes, yes.  Mr. Schneider asked was it within the range of the average and what you would expect to find it in these homes.  Ms. Deans stated because they are approximately the same size. We would have looked at existing homes and seen what their

depreciation was and made a comparison.  Mr. Schneider asked on the capital interest is that within the average that you found within the Southeastern region that you looked at.  Ms. Deans stated for those who had capital interest, yes. Mr. Schneider asked beyond looking at the averages in the regions why didn’t you do any further questioning of AVS about those numbers.

She stated because these are simply proposals. We didn’t have specific cost for specific programs. This gave us a guide to follow as to how AVS would proceed. My concern is that the total cost of the program does not to exceed the total amount of funds that are available. As each budget would be submitted for each program as they were closer to being certified we would have gone into greater detail and looked for specific documentation of everyone of these cost but not as proposal because there is nothing set here this is merely based on their estimates.  Mr. Schneider asked would the averages in the Southeastern region still be what you would measure the detailed proposals budget against?  Ms. Deans stated yes we would use them as a starting point. 

 

Mr. Schneider stated that he was finished and Ms. Deans could be redirected.

 

Mr. Koopman asked did you in connection with the Allegheny proposal or any subsequent time received an amortization schedule to back up the capital interest calculation?  Ms. Deans stated yes.  I haven’t received any actual budgets yet.  I would except to receive that with the very first budget.  Mr. Koopman stated so you did not receive a budget to date. She states not yet. Mr. Koopman stated the only thing the state has to date is the original budget proposal. Ms. Deans stated yes.  Mr. Koopman stated Ms. Deans talked about comparing the depreciation and capital interest with the range of averages.  What is the average depreciation?  Ms. Deans stated she would have to go and look at her records. Mr. Koopman stated right now you are telling us it is in the range but you can’t give us any details of what the averages or what the range is, correct.

Ms. Deans stated it was within the range that I checked it against. When I looked at these I did an average and at that time it was within that range. Mr. Koopman asked her if she has some notes or memorandums, which would reflect that calculation. She stated she would have to go back and check her records. Mr. Koopman stated but you can’t give us any more information about

that this evening and about what the averages are or the ranges and it is your conclusion when you checked it appeared to be within the range. Ms. Deans stated she couldn’t remember what the depreciation of the program was. Mr. Koopman stated we would deal with it later through subpoena.

 

Mr. DeGrezia stated the budget set forth is for each and every year. How far does the budget run?  Ms. Deans stated for one year.   He stated so AVS will they submit another budget for the second year.  Ms. Deans stated it depends on whether or not they stay on what we call is a standard rate. We have two types of rate. Once we have twelve months or established costs of the actual cost for the facility they are compared to the approved funding level. The lower of those two classes are taken and capital appreciation and capital interest are subtracted out. The remaining figure is multiplied by inflationary increments established by the governor’s budget office in the budget. Normally it is 2%. After you add the inflationary increase capital depreciation and capital interest is added back in. That dollar amount is what we consider to be a standard rate. Where we have asked for no additional increases. If the provider feels that they can live within that standard rate, they do not think we will issue them a revised per diem rate and they will continue to bill. They are not required to submit a budget. The only thing they are required to do is to submit a cost report within ninety days after the end of the fiscal year. If the provider knows that they had additional costs, if the needs of the individuals that they are serving change and they feel they need additional services, they have the right to come in and ask for a waiver of that standard rate. After they submit documentation to me they will have to identify to me, by line item what it is they are requesting, why they are requesting it, what they have done to absorb the cost, why they cannot do that and after review based on the documentation that they have given me and if it is approved, then we will increase their funding level.  Ms. Deans stated they would need to submit a budget. That includes things like a leaky roof. They have money built into their budget for repairs. If for some reason they found that the amount they had for repairs was insufficient they can come in and ask for additional funds.   Mr. DeGrezia asked one last follow-up question. Going back to depreciation and capital interest, these would have been

approved by you regardless of which county in the Southeastern region these homes were to be relocated.  She stated yes.

 

A brief recess was taken at 10:05 p.m.  The meeting reconvened at 10:10 p.m.

 

Mr. Schneider presented Mr. Champ for cross-examination.  He stated Mr. Koopman had already started cross on Mr. Champ at a previous meeting. Mr. Koopman stated I think we have asked a number of questions of you but lets talk about the caregivers.  I think as part of your direct testimony introduced some job descriptions in Exhibits A31 & A32, do you have those handy? Mr. Champ stated yes.  Mr. Koopman directed Mr. Champ to Exhibit A31 for the live-in, is that correct the house manager? Mr. Champ stated yes. Mr. Koopman asked am I correct that if you have, like in the North Crescent home, a plan to have a husband and wife residing there. Mr. Champ stated I think we talked about the possibilities. It would be a husband, it could be a wife, a woman house manager, it could be a woman and her husband, and it could be a woman and her husband and up to two children.  Mr. Koopman stated his question is if you had a married couple usually one of those would be an employee of Allegheny and be the house manager. Mr. Champ stated that is correct. It would be the wife. There are women going to that house so it would be a woman who would be the house parent.  Mr. Koopman asked that would be North Crescent. Mr. Champ stated that is correct. Mr. Koopman asked about Big Oak. Mr. Champ stated Big Oak could be a male or female hired since there would be males going to that house. If it is female residents, the house manager has to be a female. If it is males it could be either way. Mr. Koopman asked if that is your policy. Mr. Champ stated that is our policy. Mr. Koopman stated but only one of the spouses is actually the house manager employed by AVS. Mr. Champ stated that is correct. Mr. Koopman stated the other spouse, in the case of the North Crescent home, you are going to have husband and wife, the wife would be the house manager and the husband would probably employed outside the home. Mr. Champ stated yes that is typical. He would not be an employee of AVS but could be. We do have situation where the other spouse is an employee of AVS outside of the house and they could possibly be hired inside the house also. Mr. Koopman asked how would they be, when you say employed outside the house, I don’t

understand what you mean by that. Mr. Champ stated we have a situation where there is a house female house parent; her husband is a regional maintenance worker. Mr. Koopman stated okay.   He stated the more technical term I would assume, would be is that the husband has a job like everybody else has and is not affiliated with AVS and that would be the normal situation. In that situation that spouse, the husband, is probably going to have a car. Mr. Champ stated correct, yes.  Mr. Koopman stated he assumes the wife who is the house manager is also probably going to have her own personal car that she could use on days off, days when her husband is working and she needs a car. Mr. Champ stated there is a car there at the house. Sometimes they could do that and sometimes they don’t. I can’t give you percentages. Mr. Koopman stated but certainly in the realm of possibility. The wife house manager would have her own personal car.  Mr. Champ stated yes.  Mr. Koopman stated then in addition to that you have I think you said a van or some kind of vehicle to transport your clients. Mr. Champ stated that is correct.

 

Mr. Koopman stated getting back to the resume you have a definition in the first part of what the job is. You have a lot of examples of the work performed that seem to go on for two pages on Exhibit 31. Mr. Champ stated yes two pages.  Mr. Koopman stated I must not have page two and asked is there page two. I was not sure what was given me for his exhibits. Mr. Toadvine stated to Mr. Koopman you keep Township exhibits. He replied no I don’t and Mr. Toadvine stated yes you do. I have only one of A31 and I would like to make sure we have the right thing. Mr. Schneider stated we have a second page. Mr. Koopman asked could I look at it briefly? Mr. Koopman stated to Mr. Champ you have examples of work performed on page one and going to page two more examples of work performed and then knowledge skills and abilities, experience and training. Mr. Champ stated right. Yes. Mr. Koopman stated the house parent needs a degree from an accredited program with specialized training and/or a minimum of one years experience in working with the mentally disabled, and/or any combination of education experience or training deemed appropriate by the administrator. Mr. Champ stated that is what it says.  Mr. Koopman stated essentially what that means is they don’t necessarily need to have a degree from

an accredited program with specialized training. Mr. Champ stated that is correct. Mr. Koopman stated nor do they need to have a minimum of one-year experience? Mr. Champ stated correct. 

Mr. Koopman stated  “or any combination of education experience or training or discretion of the administrator.” Mr. Champ stated that is correct. Mr. Koopman stated they do need a driver’s license though, right. Mr. Champ stated yes. Mr. Koopman stated there is nothing in this exhibit here about even a requirement for a high school education is that correct? Mr. Champ stated that is correct on this exhibit.   Mr. Koopman stated the only real affirmative requirement is that they have a driver’s license. Mr. Champ stated I think it is quite clear that we are talking about a combination of experience. We talk about a bachelor degree. If they don’t have a bachelor degree they should have some experience. I know how we interpret it and I know whom we hire and we certainly don’t ever just consider hiring a person because they have a driver’s license. There is no mandatory requirement that isn’t subject to interpretation of the administrator. If you ask me the majority of house parents have bachelor degrees. Mr. Koopman stated that wasn’t my question. He asked who is the administrator?   It says experience or training deemed appropriate by the administrator. Who is the administrator? Mr. Champ stated the administrator would be the regional administrator who they report to. Mr. Koopman stated he thinks he has a copy of A-32, which is two pages and the requirement there for minimum experience and training, there are specific requirements. There is a high school diploma or GED. He stated a high school diploma or a GED is required. Mr. Champ stated that is correct. Mr. Koopman stated you need a driver’s license right. Mr. Champ stated yes.  Mr. Koopman stated related experience helpful. He replied yes. Mr. Koopman stated that mandatory qualification is for house manager. Mr. Champ stated that is correct. Mr. Koopman asked during the process of selection, does AVS have a personal department whose responsibility is to screen, employ and engage people who work for AVS? Mr. Champ replied yes. Mr. Koopman stated he thought Mr. Champ said that there are some background checks on individuals. Mr. Champ stated yes. Mr. Koopman asked what are they? He stated the state requires a criminal check, a background check that we go through the state police, if they are from out of state we go through the FBI. Mr. Koopman asked if there are any other checks? Mr. Champ stated reference checks, education checks. He asked is there any drug testing involved? Mr. Champ stated no and asked what kind of testing. Mr. Koopman stated testing to determine whether the people who you are engaged with are involved in active drug use that would be shown, for instance, by blood test or other test. Mr. Champ stated no we don’t

require that.   Mr. Koopman stated the only real check is the criminal background check through the state police of whatever appropriate jurisdiction these people live in?   Mr. Champ stated we do a criminal check, and also do a very thorough reference check.

 

Mr. Koopman stated in terms of the activity, the number of residents a house, and the number of people who are coming and going in these houses, we talked previously about how many people might come and go during a weekly period. I assume based on what you testified to, at North Crescent you would normally have fourteen or fifteen people coming and going on any given day out of the house. I arrived at that by your six clients, two house parents, possibly two children that’s 10, then you have one employee during the day shift that shares time with the house parent and then two other shifts with two people, another five so that is upwards of fifteen people per day coming and going from one of these facilities. Mr. Champ stated that is correct. Mr. Koopman asked do you know what the average or medium occupancy is in a home in Lower Makefield Township in accordance with the census and any other data.  

 

Mr. Schneider stated he is going to object to that as irrelevant because the medium is not an issue here. Mr. Toadvine sustained the objection.  Mr. Koopman asked Mr. Champ what is his experience of visitors coming to the home in terms of frequency.

 

Mr. Schneider objected. He stated that is in the record already. Mr. Toadvine sustained.

 

Mr. Koopman stated the recollection of Ms. Deans is that the original proposal submitted to the state was for four bedroom homes, do you agree with that? Mr. Champ replied yes. Mr. Koopman asked was the cost of that initial proposal the same or similar to that contained in A-29, which is same as the Oct 25th proposal?  Mr. Champ stated it is his belief that it is identical. Mr. Koopman stated Ms Deans indicated there are actual operating budgets submitted for Allegheny group homes, and asked to talk about the Southeastern Pennsylvania area.  He asked if the budgets are submitted on a yearly basis. Mr. Champ stated we are not in the Southeastern area we are in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Mr. Koopman stated we are in Southeastern area

aren’t we? Mr. Champ stated yes, I am sorry. Mr. Koopman said Ms. Deans is referring to the Southeastern region which is where we are and I think what she said is for the homes that you have, not these homes in questions, but the ones you have already established, that you submit budgets on a yearly basis. Mr. Champ stated yes we do. Mr. Koopman asked did you submit as part of that budget your actual expenses for the preceding year so that the state knows what you are actually spending? Mr. Champ stated the state has the budgets from the preceding year and we have submitted them the year before. Mr. Koopman stated the budgets are one thing but budgets are supposed to be estimate of what you are going to spend. Mr. Champ stated we have cost statements that are done at the end of the year that gives all the cost centers and they can analyze them fully.  Mr. Koopman stated then it is technically not a budget and does not reflect the actual cost of operating the facility. Mr. Champ stated that is correct. Mr. Koopman stated so the state would have those numbers for the Southeastern region. Mr. Champ stated yes they do.

Mr. Koopman stated Ms Dean indicated there were some five-person group homes that were recently established by AVS in the Southeastern region? Mr. Champ stated I don’t believe she said AVS. Mr. Koopman asked what was your understanding of what she said. Mr. Champ stated I think she said that there were two five-bed facilities that were established in the Philadelphia area but they had nothing to do with AVS. Mr. Koopman asked but you do have five bed facilities in the Southeastern region.  Mr. Champ stated yes since the mid 1980’s and those homes are ICF MR funded owned by the city of Philadelphia bond project.  Mr. Koopman asked what is the closest five bed home established in the last five years?  Mr. Champ stated Hershey has a four-bed home.  Mr. Koopman asked in the last five years has AVS opened any facilities in excess of five beds.  Mr. Champ stated in the last five years no.  Mr. Koopman asked in the last ten years.  Mr. Champ stated yes.  Mr. Koopman asked why haven’t houses been downsized.  Mr. Champ stated it is not state required and the five bed homes stayed that way because the residents wanted to stay together.  Mr. Koopman stated there is a five-bed home in Western Pennsylvania, correct.  Mr. Champ replied yes, because they needed a larger home.  Mr. Koopman asked if AVS has had success operating four bed facilities in Pennsylvania. 

Mr. Champ replied yes. 

 

Mr. Koopman asked if one home had a pool.  Mr. Champ replied yes.  Mr. Koopman asked Mr. Champ if he would close the pool at the house on Big Oak.  Mr. Champ stated no because it could be used by the residents supervised by the staff.  Mr. Koopman asked if the staff would be trained in-house.  Mr. Champ replied yes. 

 

Mr. Koopman stated with typical activity each day cars are a concern.  Vehicles to transport clients, husband and wife each have cars and additional caregivers have cars.  Mr. Champ stated it could be a concern but it depends on the driveway, local code and on-street parking.  If it were a concern, Allegheny would only allow one car for the house parents.  Mr. Koopman stated there could be five to seven cars on the premises at anytime when there is a shift change.  Mr. Champ stated they have the ability to control the size of the vehicle for the residents and the number of vehicles for the house parents.  Mr. Koopman stated there could be five to seven possible cars on the street at one time then.  Mr. Champ stated they would not allow that.  Mr. Koopman stated the shift changes at 11:00 p.m.; it is reasonable to say that employees will move cars around then?  Mr. Champ stated AVS has never had concerns with parking and on-street parking would be short-term.  Mr. Koopman asked don’t you think it is unusual to shift cars at 11:00 p.m.  Mr. Champ stated he has never had complaints about parking and if someone made noise it would be handled as a disciplinary action.  He stated the staff is well versed in public relations.  Mr. Koopman stated Mr. Champ on direct you said you have never had any complaints about parking.  He asked if he received the complaint about water on the pool at the house on Big Oak.  Mr. Champ stated he heard about the complaint from the Health Department of the water on top of the pool.  He said the water was immediately pumped off within one hour of the complaint.

 

Mr. Toadvine asked Mr. Koopman to move on. 

 

Mr. Koopman referred to the last page of exhibit A-29, cost of the house and asked if the cost is the same whether it is a four, five or six bed house and if a smaller house costs less than a larger home.  Mr. Champ stated that does not apply to this project, as they can’t buy a smaller house

here.  Mr. Koopman asked if the renovations to the house are to meet code for handicap people such as larger doorways, sprinklers, etc.  Mr. Champ stated they have criteria for homes they want to operate, looking for individual bedrooms for each client, but they cannot afford that in this area.  He stated they would look for five bedroom homes and convert one bedroom into an adaptive bathroom.  He stated in this case they looked for the ideal bedroom home, but some clients may have to share a bedroom.  Mr. Champ stated for a single bedroom the client must have 80 square feet of open space.  For two people they must have 120 square feet, which is not going to affect the cost of the house.  Mr. Koopman stated Ms. Deans said normally there are two people per bedroom.  Mr. Champ stated yes because they are taking on more challenged people, more medical equipment, and house parents with children are better parents.  Mr. Koopman asked if AVS is looking for homes to accommodate ten people.  Mr. Champ replied yes.  Mr. Koopman stated most homes have two people per bedroom in the last ten years and asked how many beds are in the homes in Lower Makefield.  Mr. Champ stated Big Oak has six bedrooms and South Crescent has five bedrooms.

 

Mr. Dobson stated to Mr. Koopman that he might need to continue his questions until September 20th, the next meeting.  Mr. Koopman stated he would limit his questions to fifteen to twenty minutes at the next meeting.  Mr. Dobson asked Mr. Schneider for his schedules for the next meeting.  Mr. Schneider asked for a meeting before September 20th.  Mr. Toadvine stated he could schedule a special meeting but there could be a problem with notification and would speak with the chairperson.

 

Mr. Bamburak moved to reconvene the Allegheny Valley School appeal until September 20, 2005.  Mr. Caiola seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

 

APPEAL #04-1280 – OLIVETTI

 

Mr. Habgood stated the owner is doing work in two phases.  The property is located in a floodplain and there is an encroachment in the front yard that needs an extension for permit.

 

 

Mr. Bamburak moved and Mr. Caiola seconded to grant and extension as requested.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Mr. Bamburak moved and Mr. Caiola seconded to adjourn the meeting at 10:55 p.m.

 

                                                                                    Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

                                                                                    David Malinowski, Secretary