A not-for-profit corporation blocked from opening a substance abuse facility in Perry Township sued the Fayette County commissioners and zoning hearing board in federal court Wednesday.
An attorney for Uniontown-based Good Works Ministries, Inc. contended a zoning official told the owners to apply for a special exception to open the facility as a nursing home or convalescent care facility. However, zoning officials denied the request in 2018, telling them that an inpatient substance abuse facility did not fit within that classification.
The county does not have a classification for substance abuse facilities in its zoning code, the suit contended, alleging discrimination under the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The decision to deny the request came after a hearing in which county and local officials, as well as township residents, objected to the facility, Good Works attorney Nancy Marcus Newman wrote.
According to the suit, the facility was to be located in a former personal care home on Memorial Drive in Perry Township. Plans were to house up to 20 men and women, with staff present around the clock and a doctor always available, Newman wrote.
The suit noted Good Works “provides substance abuse treatment to men and women using faith-based principles” and has operated a halfway house in Uniontown since 2013.
The filing also makes claims under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.
In addition to asking for damages, the suit asks a judge to force the county to approve the special exception request so that the facility can open.