Eden officials must submit emergency response statistics to a state hearing officer by Thursday before a decision can be made about a proposed group home for the developmentally disabled.
When the record of Eden Emergency and Rescue Squad responses to calls at the seven group homes in the town is sent to the hearing officer, the administrative hearing that started Sept. 15 in Town Hall will be completed.
“The hearing is technically still open,” Town Attorney William J. Trask said.
After the hearing officer receives those details, he will have 30 to 45 days to present his findings to Kerry A. Delaney, acting commissioner of the state Office for People With Developmental Disabilities.
Trask argued during the hearing that another group home should not be built because the town is saturated with them. The town has five group homes for the developmentally disabled and a pair for recovering alcoholics, giving it more per capita than neighboring municipalities.
There also is vocational center for the developmentally disabled on Main Street.
The law specifies that the concentration of group homes would have to alter the area’s “nature and character” for the town to be considered saturated, Trask said.
“It went as well as I thought it would go, and now it is in the hands of the commissioner,” he said.
The Town Board and the Board of Education issued formal declarations in July opposing the group home proposed for 8621 Jennings Road.
Police, volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians respond to calls at the homes, and the strain on emergency services ranks high among town officials’ reasons for opposing the proposal.
“Combined, they have a disproportionate impact on municipal services already, particularly emergency services,” Trask said.
Supervisor Glenn R. Nellis described the odds as “stacked against us” and voiced concern about the state law.
“I felt good about what we presented,” Nellis said. “Part of the problem is, the law for group homes for the developmentally disabled is narrow.”
Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled, based on Oak Street in Buffalo, has proposed constructing a home for up to six people on the site at 8621 Jennings Road, at East Church Street.
Mindy L. Cervoni, the organization’s chief operating officer, spoke about the proposal to a standing-room-only crowd during a Town Board meeting June 24.
Several residents expressed fears about sex offenders living in the home, and some of them raised concerns about a high-pressure natural gas pipeline that runs through the property.