Town Must Allow Group Home, Commissioner Rules
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 26, 2003
RUSH, NEW YORK--Four young women with developmental disabilities will be able to move into a group home in Rush, despite opposition from some neighbors and a previous ruling by the Town Board.
Thomas Maul, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, ruled this week that the Arc of Monroe County could purchase a ranch-style house to make it into a group home for the women.
The Board had opposed the home on the grounds that it would "alter the character of the neighborhood. Rush, a Rochester suburb with a population of 3,600, currently has three group homes in its northwest quadrant.
Arc officials said they plan to renovate the ranch-style house so the women, ages 17 to 23, would be able to move in by this coming spring.
"Its a beneficial living environment," Arc President Jim Mroczek told the Democrat & Chronicle. "Like any young person, to live with their peers is the next step to independence."
Some neighbors said that, while they had nothing against people with disabilities living in their neighborhood, they were concerned about the location.
"I don't think it's a good spot," said neighbor Mary Anne Brice. "It's right on the corner, and it's hard to get in and out."
"I'm not opposed to a group home, but Im concerned about the changes they'll make to the property," said next-door neighbor Carol Laniak. "I'm concerned how it'll affect mine."
Town officials said they probably would not appeal the Commissioner's decision. The town had already spent $7,000 in its attempt to keep the group home from being established.
Federal housing laws do not allow towns and cities to prohibit housing for people with disabilities.