Couple to fight ruling against Ellsworth home for teens


ELLSWORTH — A Canfield couple hoping to open a group home for troubled teenage boys here is planning to fight a decision denying them a remodeling permit for the facility.

George Syrianoudis said he will appeal to Mahoning County Common Pleas Court after being turned down by Ellsworth Township in November for a permit to perform additional work at Redemption House, a group home he and his wife, Beth, own at 11780 W. Western Reserve Road. Syrianoudis said he applied last June for the permit that would allow him to finish work in the basement.

After Diane Dudek, township zoning inspector, denied Syrianoudis’ request, he went to the township’s zoning board of appeals, which upheld Dudek’s decision during a Nov. 30 hearing on the matter, she explained. About a week later, a letter from the board was to have been mailed to Syrianoudis, she added.

Syrianoudis said he has yet to receive that correspondence, after which he will take his case to the appellate court. Syrianoudis added that he is being represented by Atty. Dave Betras of Boardman.

On Nov. 20, the Syrianoudises received an operating license from the state, which allows them to prepare Redemption House to accept up to 10 teenage boys with various behavior and emotional problems. Before that, Syrianoudis noted, the facility passed an inspection by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency as well as inspections for plumbing and electrical work.

The facility passed the plumbing inspection Aug. 1, 2006, a document from the Mahoning County Board of Health shows. Also on that day, it passed an electrical inspection, according to the Central Electric Inspection Bureau in Youngstown.

Nevertheless, the group home continues to generate controversy, with some residents saying the township is the wrong place for such an operation.

John Bates, a member of an opposition group called Ellsworth Concerned Citizens, worried that if any of the boys from the home ran away or afoul of the law, there would be inadequate resources to handle it. The township does not have its own police department; the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Department provides protection.

Bates said other reasons he and other homeowners are against the facility are because the boys staying there will likely have little to do in the rural setting, and because the septic system on the property hasn’t been updated.

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