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Eden Town Board opposes plan for Jennings Road group home for developmentally disabled

Citing the number of similar facilities in the community, the Eden Town Board has formally opposed a proposed group home for the developmentally disabled.

Town Board members unanimously objected to the group home proposed for 8621 Jennings Road on Wednesday night.

In a written statement that will be sent to state officials, board members described the number of group homes in the town as an “overconcentration.”

With five group homes and a vocational center for the developmentally disabled in the town and a pair of homes for recovering alcoholics, board members believe the town has enough of those facilities.

Having that many group homes means the town contains “more than our share of services,” said Supervisor Glenn Nellis.

Town officials plan to send the written statement to the state Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. Nellis said the state department has 15 days to respond after receiving it.

If the department disagrees with town officials, a public hearing could be scheduled at the Town Hall.

Despite objections from the Town Board and Eden Board of Education, which declared its opposition last week, the proposal could still proceed.

“Unfortunately, local government is at a disadvantage,” Nellis said.

Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled, based on Oak Street in Buffalo, sent a letter to town officials in early June declaring its intention to buy the property and construct a house for up to six developmentally disabled individuals.

The board’s written objection will also go to Community Services.

Board members also listed other reasons for disapproving of a group home at the East Church Street intersection, including a high-pressure natural gas pipeline that runs through the property.

Officials wrote the pipeline and a lack of sidewalks at the intersection make the property unsafe for a group home.

They also specified that the intersection’s traffic and a lack of sewers present a problem.

The board also called the site “archaeologically sensitive,” referring to a determination from the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

In addition, they objected to the nonagricultural use, calling it inconsistent with the Farmland Protection Plan.

Board members also expressed worries that a group home would change the area’s agricultural nature and increase the number of police and fire calls to the neighborhood.