Group home zoning decision in Columbus tricky situation for council

Published 10:18 pm Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Group home zoning decision in Columbus tricky situation for council


In recent weeks, community leaders who work daily with adults living with disabilities spoke out about the potential negative effects of a recommendation in Columbus that would restrict placement of family care homes.

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Homeowners in the Holly Hills neighborhood raised concerns back in October when they received word that a second group home, owned by Synergy In Action, was set to locate down the road from one that already exists in the subdivision.

Residents said they have experienced no problems with the original group home – it’s been there since 2002 – but they have concerns that a second one might depreciate home values.

Depreciation of a home’s value is based on a multitude of factors. Are neighboring homes dilapidated with falling in sheds or weed growing toward the sky? Are the streets lit properly?

From residents’ own comments, it seems there is nothing occurring there that could damage property values. A single-family home could be in shambles and do more detriment than these group homes might.

To protect the privacy of the individuals, in fact, it is often kept confidential where the homes are even located. It should not be assumed that because someone lives with a physical or mental disability they are not capable of being good neighbors. People in these circumstances often move into these homes to get the assistance needed to live independently such as mowing the grass.

The tricky sticking point to this situation is that Synergy in Action, and even other reputable agencies in the community, are not the only ones that might one day want to open a family care home in Columbus. There are no guarantees that the next agency will provide suitable updates to a home or the same quality assistance to those that live in their homes.

One of the biggest investments most adults make in their lives is the purchase of a home and the residents of Columbus have a right to protect their investments. We only hope a compromise can be made that doesn’t discriminate against adults with disabilities and doesn’t limit the good work people and organizations such as Synergy in Action are trying to do for those of us who need a bit of extra help through life. After, all any one of us could need similar help in the blink of an eye.

A public hearing on the matter will be held Thursday, Dec. 20 in Columbus at 7 p.m.

– Tryon Daily Bulletin editorial staff