Despite Opposition, CB 18 Approves Mill Basin Group Home
Community Board 18 members met on October 15 to discuss the heated topic of a group home for developmentally disabled adult males in Mill Basin. Board members held a continued public hearing on an application filed by Mercy Home for Children, under the auspices of the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD).
The application was in regards to establishing a community residence for five mentally retarded and developmentally disabled adult males ages 21-45 at 1641 East 53rd Street, a de-tached two-family brick frame house.
Mercy Home brought the proposal to the community board meeting last month, but the group could not recommend it because it had not yet had the opportunity to discuss the issue with the Mill Basin Civic Association. Mercy Home returned this month after discussing the proposal with the civic organization and hearing the community's feedback. The board overwhelm-ingly approved the proposal, despite some abstentions and one "no" vote.
The public response was mixed. Anna Howard, a resident of the block, said she and her neighbors were upset over the application because there was no guarantee that something would not occur while the five adult males were at the group home.
Mill Basin Civic Association board member Nathan Williams conveyed to CB 18 that the civic group and the community opposed the group home.
According to Social Services Chair-person Allan Whitney, Jr., who discussed the topic before the board and the public, said that there are three options for a recommendation: 1) to approve the site, 2) suggest one or more alternate sites, or 3) to object to the establishment of a residence at the site because it would result in such a concentration of residential facilities that the nature and character of the neighborhood would be substantially altered.
If the board chose the latter option, then a hearing with OMRDD (Office of Mental Retardation and Develop-mental Disabilities) would be held. The board and several elected officials who attended the meeting agreed that there were no grounds for rejecting the group home.
Former Assemblyman Frank Sed-dio complimented Mercy Home on its current and previous group homes and explained that they have never had a problem.
On another matter, Saul Needle, the board's chair, announced that local civic associations, block associations, and community residents may submit budget requests for consideration by the board for inclusion in the Capital and Expense Budget Submissions for Fiscal Year 2010.