Eight items on Thursday's agenda of the Marshfield Board of Aldermen addressed the regulation of social service agencies in the city.
The board passed all of the measures: an amendment to the city’s zoning code to regulate social service agencies and transitional homes within the corporate limits of the city, plus seven related amendments to the Marshfield city code.
The action defines a social service agency as a facility that is operated by a public or nonprofit agency and that provides crisis intervention or services related to physical or mental wellbeing. A transitional home is now defined as a residential use associated with a social service agency and designed to provide housing and supportive services to an at-risk of homeless population to help prepare for independent living.
The city code change sets minimum standards for transitional homes, including the following:
• Maximum occupancy shall be determined by the number of bedrooms within the building, with only one occupant permitted per bedroom.
• Bedrooms must be a minimum of 70 square feet of floor area with natural light, ventilation and windows or other means of escape.
• No portion of a room may be less than 5 feet in height from floor to ceiling.
• A receiving area separate from sleeping quarters is required, and it must have at last 120 square feet of gross floor area.
• A facility must abide by the maximum residency period allowed per resident, as determined by the Planning an Zoning Commission.
• The city has the right to inspect transitional homes to verify these conditions.
Within most districts of the city, no social service agency shall be located with 500 feet of another, according to the amendments to the city code. This change does not apply to a B-1 district, a neighborhood business district.