Tempers flare in Lysander over proposed group home for young boys with behavioral issues

Published 04/23 2014 11:05AM

Updated 04/24 2014 08:23PM

Updated at 11:55 p.m. on Wednesday, April 23:

Lysander (WSYR-TV) – Frustrations hit a boiling point as residents had a chance to voice concerns about a group home for young boys with behavior issues being proposed for a town of Lysander neighborhood.

People living in the Abbott Farms neighborhood along Doyle Road said they feel let down by the Lysander Town Board, who they claim didn't tell them about the proposal to build the group home.

Toomey Residential Services – a division of Catholic Charities – sent a letter to the town proposing the home over a year ago. The town says it never responded to the letter.

Toomey says it bought the 2.75 acre plot on Doyle Road in March 2013. The house would be 4,000 square feet.

The proposed facility would have eight bedrooms, a fence, and a large septic system. Toomey says it would be staffed 24 hours a day so the children are constantly supervised. The children would either go to school in Baldwinsville or at the Day Treatment Program.

Residents say they only recently learned about the proposal and are concerned about the size of the home, security and safety measures, as well as the impact it could have on property taxes.

“If this was a group home for developmentally disabled children, that would be fine – we wouldn't have a problem with that. This is more of a correctional style facility that the residents were not given any input on,” said Alan Robbins, who lives in the neighborhood.

The Toomey Residential Services staff says such homes are important for rehabilitating the youths.

“Some of the children have behavioral issues but, based on their age, our job is to help them develop the coping skills that they need to be successful, at school, at home. Because our goal is for them to return to their families,” said Judy D’Amore of Toomey Residential Services.

Representatives from Toomey were on hand at Wednesday’s standing room only meeting at Lysander Town Hall to answer questions from dozens of residents.

Town Supervisor John Salisbury says the town hasn't taken an official position on the group home, but admits there is not much the town can do to stop it from being built.

“I’m not opposed to group homes per say,” Salisbury said. “After I talk to the board and we have a meeting then we’ll make a decision.”

The Town says it will discuss the issue at one of its upcoming board meetings. The next time the board meets is on Monday, April 28.

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