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Boston officials contest locating group home in town

Boston town officials will continue to contest a proposed group home for the corner of Cole and Omphalius roads, although the state has not given up on pushing that location for the home, elected officials told nearly 40 residents who attended a special meeting Thursday night.

The project would house four residents, Town Attorney Michael Kobiolka told a crowd of nearly 40 residents Thursday night. It would be run by the state Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, in conjunction with Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled, a Buffalo-based company.

The town was approached about a year ago, and since learning about the proposed project, town officials have been firm in their opposition, citing its location, which is in a higher elevation in a wooded area and 1.1 miles away from a day care center. Residents who spoke voiced concerns over whether emergency vehicles could get to the facility, as well as uncertainty over whether the home could house sex offenders.

Town officials said they do not know who would reside at the home.

“The state has a lot of power in this area,” Kobiolka said of the state’s powers to locate group homes. “The host town does not have a lot to say.”

He noted a ruling on the town’s appeal will be issued within the next 30 to 50 days.

As part of the process, the town had to provide the state with alternative locations to consider, Town Supervisor Martin A. Ballowe said.

He said the town found sites that matched the criteria the state was seeking, including one near the entrance to Route 219 that was near banking and offered the potential for employment.

“We gave them alternative sites,” Ballowe said.

Other group homes are located in the community, he said, stressing that town officials are not opposed to them. In this case it is, largely because of the location.

Resident Althea Killeen suggested the town discuss with Eden officials, who are going through a similar process, about working together to oppose a group home. She said they should talk to other communities to see if they are dealing with similar issues.

Ballowe said he will meet soon with other supervisors and intends to bring up the situation with them.