Friday, November 10, 2000

Fed-up Harveysburg residents seek help

House for troubled teens denounced

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — Warren County commissioners gave frustrated Harveysburg residents a civics lesson Thursday night:

        • Village solicitor not doing as ordinances direct? A four-person majority of council can fire him.

        • Building inspector not doing his job? Fire him, too. The county can probably take over that duty, Commissioners Larry Crisenbery and Mike Kilburn said, and for less than it's costing Harveysburg now.

        The lesson came when about 25 residents of the 500-person village came to the county with concerns about new construction for a program for troubled teens. The religious program Teen Reach, based in Arizona, is under investigation by three state agencies.

        The focus Thursday night was on local developer Paul Brothers, who has announced plans to build 21 homes and a school for Teen Reach on Maple Avenue. He also owns a house on Loraine Avenue that's occupied by Teen Reach, despite lacking an occupancy permit and despite being in a single-family neighborhood.

        “A lot of the fear in the community, it's not with the children at all, it's with the way Paul Brothers does work,” said Trustee Jim Collins of neighboring Massie Township.

        The problem residents sought commissioners' help with Thursday is that Mr. Brothers doesn't have a permit to install sewer pipes on Maple, but it appears he has done so anyway.

        “We feel like he ought to be made to dig up what's been put in and do it the right way,” Michele Cochran said.

        Said Richard Renneker, the county's sanitary engineer: “If he tapped into the existing lateral, he tampered with the county water system.”

        Commissioners told Mr. Renneker to send inspectors to the site to check whether that had happened.

        “Right's right and wrong's wrong,” Mr. Crisenbery said.

        Mr. Brothers received a permit from the village Thursday to build a foundation and a shell on Maple Avenue after agreeing he would not tap into water or sewer lines. However, he listed the building's use as “private school.”

        Mr. Brothers, who wasn't at the meeting, denied Thursday night any pipes had been laid at the Maple site in 1 1/2 years.

        “I don't know what in the world you're talking about,” he said.

        The Rev. Bobby Torres, founder of Teen Reach, and about 20 teens and supervisors did attend the meeting.

        “We want the thing to be done right and legally,” he said. “We're going to abide by the law.”


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