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Eden residents express opposition to group home on Jennings Road

A proposed group home for the developmentally disabled has encountered strong opposition from Eden residents.

Citing group homes in other towns that have housed sex offenders, residents voiced objections Wednesday to a home that Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled proposes for up to six residents at 8621 Jennings Road.

After hearing a presentation from Mindy L. Cervoni of the organization, residents peppered her with questions.

Several in a standing-room-only crowd expressed fear that the home will contain sex offenders or other criminals.

“Are you going to put in sex offenders or aren’t you?” Marty Ebert, of East Church Street, asked.

Cervoni explained that not all group homes house sex offenders, then replied, “We would consider it.”

During her presentation, Cervoni acknowledged that many questions remain. She emphasized that the number of residents has not been determined and that the ages and gender makeup are unknown.

The group home may contain men or women, adults or adolescents and those with mental and physical disabilities.

At several times, neighbors described her answers as “vague” and demanded to know more.

Paul R. Shephard, an Eden Board of Education member who lives near the location, objected to the proposal.

After hearing Cervoni mention that some sex offenders already live in the town, he expressed outrage.

“We don’t need any more,” he said.

Another neighbor, Susan F. Wilhelm, voiced her worry about sex offenders living there.

“I don’t want it,” she told the board before leaving. “I hope the board is hearing me.”

As he concluded the question-and-answer session, Supervisor Glenn R. Nellis urged residents to contact board members with further comments and questions.

The board has 40 days from June 5, the day officials received a letter from the organization, to respond. Officials can agree to the proposal, oppose it, suggest another location or ask the state government to schedule a hearing.

Town Board members also:

• Approved a contract with Code Red, the emergency notification system that sends recorded messages to residents by telephone. The town will pay $5,535 per year in a three-year contract.

• Named Mark Clark as part-time code-enforcement officer for $19.63 per hour. He will start Monday.

• Agreed to an $11,734 tax-collection contract with the Eden Central School District for the 2015-16 school year.