YORKTOWN, N.Y. – A group home agency would like to build a home for physically disabled residents on a vacant piece of land in Shrub Oak.
The Richmond Agency has sent the town an informal notice of its intention to build the home on a 1.15-acre lot at 738 East Main Street. The house would have six residents, and the state has agreed to fund the agency $145,000 per resident, or $870,000.
The agency has already purchased and retrofitted two houses in Yorktown, but this is the first group home it would build from scratch to accommodate disabled residents. The house would be built into an existing sewer line, and the site was chosen due to the small amount of direct neighbors.
Once The Richmond Agency sends an official letter of intent to build the house on the property, Yorktown would have 40 days to agree to the plan, suggest an alternate site, or object to the plan and begin a legal process of review, according to Dan Luckett, chairperson of the town's Group Home Committee. Luckett said he was involved in the previous two group home processes, and said it can go smoothly if both sides work together.
“Richmond has bent over back to accommodate the needs of the community while protecting their own legitimate interests,” Luckett said at Tuesday night's Town Board work session. “And the needs of the community include trying to make peace.”
Yorktown has the option of holding a community hearing, but it is not legally obligated to involve the public on the proposal. Supervisor Michael Grace, who was not opposed to the proposal, said he wanted to avoid any public hearing that would attract community members that don’t live in the area.
“Set up an informal meeting with the neighbors. You can do it here,” Grace said, referring to Town Hall. “Just to advise them -- I don’t want to hold a public hearing on this.”
Grace said it made little sense to involve the general public on something that cannot really be voted down. Council member Nick Bianco, who also showed no objection to the proposal, disagreed with Grace on the process and said the public has a right to information.
“That’s democracy,” he said.
Luckett said the Group Home Committee will schedule an informational meeting for residents interested in learning more about the plan.