PDT Staff Writer
Officials at Scioto Residential Services say they are in the process of making a residence at 3008 Willow Way into a residential home for a handful of people with developmental disabilities.
“We purchased a home up there,” Jennifer Meade, director of Scioto Residential Services, said. “It’s going to be a residential home for three or four individuals. They are all developmentally disabled. They have to be to be eligible for our services.”
An issue surrounding the project came to light with Willow Way resident Jan Bailey addressed Portsmouth City Council Monday, saying she had heard Scioto Residential Services was going to put in a residential home and no one in her neighborhood had been consulted.
“I moved here (Willow Way), and I continue to live here because it’s family residences. No rentals around. They are single family residences,” Bailey said. “That’s what I signed up for. No one even told us.”
Bailey said she talked with someone at Scioto Residential Services by phone.
“She said, ‘you don’t have to find out when your neighbor moves in,’” Bailey said, quoting the employee. “This is different. It’s not like a family with three children with Down Syndrome moved in. I wouldn’t have a problem with that. This is a group home. I told a (Scioto County Board of Development Disability) member, ‘it’s not what you do, you do great work. It’s not that,’ it’s a stigma in a neighborhood if you go to sell your house. What I’m worried about, and what my neighbors are worried about that I have talked to and I’ve talked to several of them, it’s property value. We’re paying more in taxes. We have high mortgage payments. We’re sacrificing to live here, and now we’re going to lose on our property value or it’s even going to be harder to sell our house.”
Meade said her organization does not typically go into a neighborhood and talk with residents before creating a residential home.
“I have talked to other people that have given us a call and they have wanted to know things, like ‘do they have a criminal record?’ No. ‘Have they been involved with drug abuse?’ No, they have not,” Meade said. “I have had some calls and have had to explain who we are. Some of them have no clue that we even existed.”
Meade said creating residential homes for developmentally disabled clients is a common practice in the community, with several houses already being utilized.
“We have been around in Scioto County since (19)74,” Meade said.
Meade said the house is not going to be divided into apartments. It will be a single family-type dwelling.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.