CARBONDALE — Nine residents, two letters and a petition spoke in opposition of a special use permit to allow a group home at 615 S. Terrace Dr., was enough Wednesday to convince the Carbondale Planning Commission to recommend denial of the permit to the full City Council.
Help at Home LLC requested the special use permit. Kim Evans, regional vice president of Help at Home, said the company is a licensed health care provider who cares for the frail and elderly in the state for more than 40 years. She said the building would be a place for continuing education to make sure employees are up to date on policies and procedures to provide better care.
The property on South Terrace Drive is zoned R-1-8, and group homes are permitted without a special use 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.
Due to the fact NeuroRestorative operates a group home for juveniles less than 300 feet away at 606 S. Terrace Dr., the special permit had to be required and also forced the company to go through the planning commission and later, the city council.
During the meeting Wednesday, residents in the neighborhood sounded off on problems they have had with the current group home and were strongly opposed to a second home just a few feet away.
Diane Muzio lives on Terrace Drive and she said the current group home already causes large amounts of traffic and noise throughout all hours of the night.
“The group home runs buses and vans transporting multiple passengers to and from the residence, causing increased traffic, road blockings and noise from loud engines and backing-up signals,” she said. “They have staff coming and going at every shift change and when there are staff meetings.”
Muzio said at times the staff of the home threaten the safety of pedestrians and animals because they drive too fast, speeding to and from work. She also told stories of non-employees stopping in the neighborhood with loud music to drop off, pick up and bring meals to the employees of the home.
“This is a very serious issue for my family and our neighbors,” she said. “This commission has an obligation to serve the residents, not the companies that want to move onto what should be a quiet block, but have no personal interest in Carbondale being a great place to live.”
Evans said Help at Home did check to see if other group homes were in the area through the state, but apparently, according to Carbondale Senior Planner Travis Taylor, the state only checks for other adult home within 800 feet. The city lumps both adult and juvenile homes together, which Evans said that information was not relayed to the company.
Help at Home's request will be heard by the city council on Feb. 13. The council makes the final decision.