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Youth home does not belong on Lincoln Parkway

I am a longtime resident of the northern section of Lincoln Parkway, quite close to where the United Church Home is attempting to obtain a zoning variance in order to install a home for troubled youth, apparently with help from Compass House.

I am vehemently against this attempted intrusion into our neighborhood. We work hard to keep our neighborhood safe and secure.

In her March 15 Another Voice, "Emotions, distortions block home for homeless youth," Nancy A. Karp tried to portray us as some sort of fear-mongering xenophobes who use "base tactics" to get our way. Let's look at some facts.

The United Church Home's property is not zoned for use as a home for troubled youth. The vast majority of neighborhood residents opposed the locating of a youth home in our neighborhood, without any coercion from anyone.

As Karp cited, the North District already has more than its share of group homes. Despite outrageous assessments, our property values are already suffering from the currently depressed economy. We don't want them to fall any lower.

Many of us fear that homeless teenagers without anything to lose might attempt to break into our homes and cars or could possibly harm our children or property. There is a concern that homeless teens might vandalize our homes and cars. Shouldn't any sane person feel this way?

I have a little more insight into this situation than most of my neighbors. You see, I once stayed at Compass House when I was a troubled teenager. I saw firsthand what troubled teens in a group home tend to do.

Many of the troubled teens spent their free time seeking drugs and alcohol. A daily occurrence was pooling money so the oldest-looking teen could try to buy a cheap bottle of booze. Granted, the drinking age was 18 back then, but that doesn't mean teens can't obtain alcohol today, as we all know. There were thieves among us.

When you don't have anything and you have nothing to lose, anyone can be a potential victim. You diligently guarded what few possessions you had or you quickly lost them.

I think most of the kids there were basically good kids, but when you are down on your luck you tend to do things you wouldn't ordinarily do.

I have been appalled at many of the comments on The Buffalo News Web site related to this issue. How can so many people think that we don't have a right to live in peace in our own homes?

I have worked very hard for what I have today. I really don't want to have to fight even harder to keep my family, pets and property safe so some group home can be put where it doesn't belong.

We are willing to fight to keep our neighborhood a nice place to live. Why aren't more residents of this once fine city willing to do the same or at least willing to respect our right to do so?

Henry Priebe is a resident of Lincoln Parkway in Buffalo.

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