CARBONDALE — A special use permit request for a group home in a neighborhood was unanimously denied Tuesday by the Carbondale City Council after several residents spoke in opposition during its regularly scheduled meeting.
The request came from Help at Home LLC, a licensed health-care provider, to operate a group home at 615 S. Terrace Drive. On Feb. 7, the Carbondale Planning Commission recommended denial to the full council. A representative from Help at Home was not present at Tuesday’s meeting.
The property on South Terrace Drive is zoned R-1-8, and group homes are permitted without a special use permit, as long as the company running the business is licensed by an agency of the state, the building is more than 800 feet from another group home and the group meets criteria established for the issuance of occupancy permits.
Because NeuroRestorative operates a group home for juveniles less than 300 feet away at 606 S. Terrace Drive, the special permit was required and also forced the company to go through the City Council.
During Tuesday’s meeting, residents talked about excessive noise, behavior problems, and increased traffic from the group home already established on the street, which is one-eighth of a mile long and has 23 residents.
“The group home has its own garbage and recycling pickups, so we neighbors have double the trucks and noise than other blocks,” said Diane Muzio, who lives directly across from 606 S. Terrace Drive. “Put another group home on the street, and that will triple.”
She also mentioned the staff regularly has nonemployees drop them off, pick them up and bring food deliveries.
“With regularity, these staff and their guests blast music from their cars so loudly that I can hear the music pounding through my closed windows and doors and into the rooms in the rear of the house,” Muzio said.
She urged the Council to think about the people on the block and to remember the ordinances set in place to protect residential neighborhoods.
“Well, the deterioration has already started with one group home on the block,” Muzio said. “Granting this second group home special use permit will exacerbate what is already a compromise in the quality of life on South Terrace Drive.”
Councilwoman Jessica Bradshaw said in 2016 there were 26 calls for service to NeuroRestorative on the block. In 2017, there were 38 calls. These calls were medical, fire, and police combined, she said.
Bradshaw also said Help at Home has purchased a home on Colonial Drive and didn’t need a special use for that group home.
“I think having this information tracked could be good information for the future,” she said.
Mayor Mike Henry wants to look at group homes in certain neighborhoods altogether.
“I think we should revisit the ordinance on this to allow group homes in the first place,” he said. “We have plenty of neighborhoods where this could work better.”
Councilman Navreet Kang abstained from voting, as he lives next door to the property in question.