|To the Editor: BG resident voices concerns about proposed 'group home'||| Print ||
|Written by James Bissland|
|Wednesday, 03 June 2009 09:16|
A few days ago, residents of Rosalind Drive and nearby Donbar and Knollwood drives in Bowling Green were surprised to learn that a house in their single-family residential neighborhood is being converted into what sounds like a "group home."
Only then did we learn that the State of Ohio can license "group homes" anywhere it wishes with no regard for local zooming laws or the concerns of neighbors. Moreover, the developers of the Rosalind Drive home went ahead without informing neighbors of their plans. This permitted an information vacuum to develop, rumors to fly, and suspicions to arise that something worrisome was being kept secret.
Under pressure, a 45-minute informational session was offered neighbors. We learned that this license allows for no more than five elderly people who do not require skilled nursing care. That suggests the facility is not likely to be troublesome neighbor.
What we do not know, despite an unsupported assertion to the contrary, is whether facilities like this have a negative impact on nearby property values, as unfair and inappropriate as that may be. The developers should provide evidence to support their claim that it doesn't, as well as any other information might reassure residents of the area.
The city is helpless when the state chooses to override its zoning ordinances, but it so happens that homes in the Rosalind-Knollwood-Donbar area are protected by a restrictive covenant among neighbors, under which they can bring legal action in cases like this. Some longtime residents are so upset at the thoughtless way they've been treated that they are considering doing exactly that. Absent full disclosure, angry residents have both the motive and the means to take such action-and they also have the precedent of a completely successful legal effort in the very same neighborhood.
If the developers are caring people who truly wish to be good neighbors and to have good neighbors, they will make up for lost time by providing the information that reassures present residents that they have not been blindsided by a threat to the value of their neighborhood.
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