Gassville City Council will consider repealing OMART’s special use permit

The Gassville City Council will meet in special session Wednesday evening to consider a resolution repealing a special use permit for the Ozark Mountain Alcohol Residential Treatment facility.

The action comes on the heels of an announcement last week Arkansas Community Correction would be closing the doors of OMART by April 15th. On Friday, ACC began relocating about two dozen parolees residing there to other transitional housing centers in the state.

The proposed resolution the Gassville City Council will consider references OMART's special use permit granted in 1996. The brief, one-page document notes the permit was issued to OMART for the construction of an alcohol rehabilitation and treatment facility. Per the special use permit, the facility is located north of the city's water tower and east of the old city dump road and sits on 21.4 acres of land.

There is no reference to OMART serving as a transitional housing center for parolees.

In early April last year, in a meeting with members of the media, OMART's Board Chairman Heith Hogan said the facility has been partially engaged in transitional housing with ACC for about 10 years.

Today, the facility is licensed to house about 50 medium-level male offenders. Residents generally were allowed to stay up to 60 days and wear ankle monitors. In some cases, stays were extended an additional 30 days.

Hogan said the move to a complete transitional housing facility began in 2017 as OMART continued to see declining state revenue, with funding for drug and alcohol treatment being moved to other locations across Arkansas.

Hogan said at that time the Gassville facility operates as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with eight employees and a five-member board.

Hogan said because of the partial operation for transitional housing, OMART was grandfathered in as an exclusive temporary home for parolees, with no community notifications required.

The resolution before the council Wednesday evening says the city granted OMART a special use permit to construct and operate an alcohol rehabilitation treatment facility. It goes on to say the facility has been used for other purposes that were not disclosed to the council when it opened.

The resolution would repeal the special use permit and any current or future owners of the property would be required to hold a hearing before the city's planning and zoning commission to establish proper zoning use.

In addition, the resolution states OMART, its board members and employees are all hereby notified the facility is permanently closed until such a hearing by the city's planning and zoning commission and approval by the city council.

The chairman of the Arkansas Department of Correction's board, Benny Magness of Gassville, told KTLO, Classic Hits and The Boot news last week the action to close OMART follows continued inspection issues at the facility. The issues included cleanliness and drug testing documentation. He added the drug testing itself had been conducted. Inspections are conducted every 30 days, with the last one completed March 22nd.

The council will meet at 6 at the Gassville Community Center on South School Street.

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