Share this article

print logo

boston Group opposes plan for group home

A group of Town of Boston residents wants the state to know they are vehemently opposed to a group home being built on land at Cole and Omphalius roads

About 40 residents met Monday night at Patchin Fire Hall in advance of a public hearing scheduled at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Boston Town Hall, 8500 Boston State Road. The residents said they organized to build their case so they will be speaking in a unified voice at the hearing. The town and state will have lawyers present to discuss the legal issues.

The residents stressed that they are not opposed to group homes, just to one at that site.

The state is working on the project with Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled. It would have four residents with staff on hand 24 hours a day.

Some expressed concern over the possibility the home might house sex offenders, Supervisor Martin C. Ballowe advised speakers not to jump to conclusions.

Jay Such, who lives in the neighborhood and helped lead Monday’s forum, said his concern is less about who is going to live there and more about where the proposed location is.

“This is truthfully not a suitable site,” Such said. “We do not know if there will be sex offenders – until they move in and by law, have to notify residents.” He said he was told it would be four adult males, whom he said would have a “dual diagnosis.”

One of the first concerns talked about was the weather.

“Everyone knows what kind of weather conditions we have up there,” said Tracy Hirsch, who also lives in that neighborhood.

Ballowe reminded the audience that following a dispute with Erie County, the town decided to opt out of an agreement to plow county roads in the fall. Cole and Omphalius are county roads, and the decision to opt out of the agreement came about a month before the major snowstorm in November, which Ballowe said, closed the roads for five days. If the group home was there, Ballowe wondered whether workers would be able to make it to the home to help the patients.

If the project moves forward, the property would be tax-exempt, although the town would be responsible to respond to emergency-related calls. The Town Board rejected the proposal, and Ballowe told the audience he was told the state can overrule the decision and move forward if it chooses.

Other items seen as negatives were the potential for power outages, poor cell phone reception and accessibility in case of fire.