No license needed for Hanbleceya’s mental health homes in Normandy Park

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by Jack Mayne

Hanbleceya is operating four of five facilities in Normandy Park without licenses because there are no health care licenses for their facilities either from the State of Washington or from Normandy Park.

Hanbleceya does have a standard city business license that every company must have to do business in the city.

Some residents continue to believe that the Hanbleceya Treatment Centers are operating illegally facilities despite a March 29 letter, signed by Lori Melchiori, assistant director for residential care services that said the state Department of Social and Health Services has investigated and “verified (Hanbleceya’s) assertion that the four homes are not operating as unlicensed adult family homes at this time.”

In a telephone interview Tuesday (April 30), Normandy Park Mayor Clarke Brant said the city has no legal way to prevent the operation of the facilities, under any circumstances. Further, DSHS has decided the four homes operating in the city are merely rental units and do not need any license. In addition, he noted, there is a fifth home currently being prepared to operate as a state-licensed Adult Family Home, but is currently empty while Hanbleceya prepares it to meet state standards for a license that would be issued by the Washington state Department of Health.

Mayor Brant says the state agencies consider the city to be not in the loop for information about any state license and has simply not responded to Normandy Park about the Hanbleceya potential license.

“We file requests for information but the state asks for more information on our requests and they do not respond,” he said.

Some citizens of the city say the city’s zoning code requires a city to license such operations as Hanbleceya has and Brant agrees they are right.

“But that code is very old and very out of date and it is now being brought up to date and is before the (Normandy Park) Planning Commission and soon will be before the City Council,” he said. The new code will not require city licenses for operations such as Hanbleceya’s “because court decisions and new laws” had made local licenses illegal for city’s.

So technically, as a letter writer recently said, Hanbleceya is operating in violation of the Normandy Park zoning code. But Brant notes that the city could not win a court challenge if it decided to attempt to enforce that code.

Court decisions and recent laws say a city may not discriminate against such health care facilities. Only the state can impose a license and the state has not seen fit to do that, Brant said.

Therefore, Hanbleceya has a business license and is operating four “rental homes” quite legally in Normandy Park despite any citizen objection to the contrary. If citizens want the current property and the fifth facility to have licenses, Brant and others have suggested they seek help from their state legislators to get such facilities licensed and inspected by the state. The city of Normandy Park cannot license such health facilities.

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