The Examiner

Maybury Vows to Block Two Proposed Group Homes in Mt. Pleasant

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Mount Pleasant Supervisor Joan Maybury
Mount Pleasant Supervisor Joan Maybury

Saying there is a saturation of nonprofit agencies operating residential facilities in Mount Pleasant, town Supervisor Joan Maybury has vowed to block two proposed group homes.

One application is from Devereux New York, which is seeking to open a group home for four adults with developmental disabilities in a house located at 659 Belleview Ave. in Thornwood. A public hearing on the proposal has been scheduled for Tuesday at 8 p.m.

The second proposal is from Ferncliff Manor for a group home at 330 Bear Ridge Rd. in Pleasantville, which would accommodate up to six residents, said Ferncliff Manor Executive Director William Saich.

Maybury, who made her comments during the March 4 town board work session, said Mount Pleasant already hosts more than its fair share of group home and residential treatment facilities, which removes properties from the tax rolls. The town is home to 20 such facilities that provide services to about 1,000 people, including programs at Hawthorne Cedar Knolls and the Pleasantville Cottage School.

Maybury said Mount Pleasant has the second most state approved residential programs of any municipality in the county.

“The Town of Mount Pleasant cannot handle another facility. Period,” Maybury said.

A key drawback to group homes operated by nonprofit organizations is that the property is off the tax rolls, council members agreed.

In a letter written to Maybury last month, Devereux New York Executive Director John O’Keefe said the Belleview Avenue facility would be an individual residential alternative for people with developmental disabilities.

“These individuals may need some assistance with taking care of their personal needs and may have difficulty with ambulation,” O’Keefe wrote.

Devereux would operate the home and “provide supervision by a trained staff on a 24-hour per day basis,” he stated.

Under state law, a municipality can decide within 40 days of receiving the letter from an organization proposing a group home whether to accept the proposal, suggest an alternative location or object to the proposed facility on grounds that it “would result in such a concentration of community residential facilities for the disabled in the municipality or in the area of proximity to the site selected or a combination of such facilities.”

A specific obstacle for Devereux New York is the location of the house. It is located on a hill with a 21 percent grade, Maybury said.

“That’s quite steep,” she said.

Also, the Belleview Avenue house is in violation of its current single-family certificate of occupancy. The certificate of occupancy states the house has one kitchen and three bedrooms but actually has two kitchens and four bedrooms, according to the supervisor.

Maybury’s town board colleagues shared her concern about hosting additional group homes.

“Why are so many here?” Councilman Mark Rubeo asked.

Councilman Denis McCarthy said the locations of the two proposed group homes were inappropriate because they would be located in single-family zones rather than mixed-use zones.



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