Eden residents against group home that could house sex offenders

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EDEN, N.Y. (WIVB)- Neighbors in Eden are upset over plans to open a group home that could house sex offenders.

Buffalo-based Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled wants to build a six-bed group home for people with developmental disabilities.

The home would go up at the corner of Jennings Rd. and E. church Streets, right down the road from a school. More than a dozen people are reaching out to local representatives to get this plan revoked.

Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled presented to the town board its intent to open the group home on June 24. 2015. The organization said it will staff the facility 24 hours a day and teach residents about cooking, household budgeting and how to use public transportation.

The state can require the facility to house sex offenders, according to the organization’s vice president.

“There are a lot of areas that could potentially be suitable for something like this, not only in Eden but other places,” said Paul Shephard, who lives near the property. “Maybe where there are not residents, maybe in areas that have more services, maybe on a bus route, closer facilities.”

Shephard lives three houses down from the site and he has two young children.

“I have lots of concerns about their ability to go next door to their friend’s house or go across the street to their grandmother’s house,” said Shephard.

He’s one of more than a dozen people protesting the plans. They’re worried the facility will also increase traffic on their road.

The NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities plans to hold a hearing over the town’s objections on Tuesday, Sept. 15.

In a public notice, town officials said the goal of the hearing is to present evidence on “the need for such a facility in the community, whether the establishment of the facility would result in an over-concentration of such facilities such that the nature and character of the area within the municipality would be substantially altered, and the sustainability of alternate sites suggested by the municipality.”

The public meeting is at 1:00 p.m. at Eden Town Hall. It was originally going to be held outside town lines but it was moved to the new location so the public can attend. Community members will not be allowed to speak at the meeting.

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