To the Editor,
Having attended the Town council meeting this past Thursday, I was disturbed by the seeming lack of communication displayed by the attendees, both those there ex officio, and those who testified and expressed interest in the matter of additional verbiage to be added to the zoning ordinances as the continuing controversy surrounding the attempt to establish a “Transitional Living ” facility in a well-established residential area of York with many families with young children who feel that their safety is put at risk by this particular facility.
Despite the articulate gentleness with which Ms. Hubbard expressed her desire to see that an exemption to the R-3 special use permit language be included for occupancy of 6 or less, the potential for abuse of this policy is high, consequently I and others strongly disagree with making this exemption. I believe that all areas of residential zoning should require issuance of a special use permit to establish specialized housing of this sort.
Regarding the controversial establishment of the “Transitional Living” facility on the corner of 9th and East, I would submit that the following items need to be considered before issuing a permit to the corporate entity seeking to open this facility.
1. This facility is for the transition of previously convicted law-breakers who have been incarcerated for violations of the law. The spokespersons who have come to represent the New Life Place organization have presented us with a “pie in the sky” set of expectations for the behavior of the residents, they have never given us a clear picture of why or how the individuals become eligible for placement in such a facility. Do they apply? Do they “earn” the right to enter such a program? Or, are they simply placed because of the limitations for the criminal justice system?
2. Among the claims of these spokesmen is reliance on frequent visits by the parole officers for the “residents” of the facility. I have a background in state government personal services. I know that workers in these positions are generally underpaid, over worked, and have caseloads with unreachable requirements for service that lead to “burnouts” who occupy the positions. I have extreme doubt that the level of servicing these residents will match the “expectations”.
3. The entity attempting to establish New Life Place is a for profit corporate entity. Despite their best efforts to put a humanitarian face on their efforts, they are simply a corporate entity seeking a profitable venture.
One last comment, I am a relative newcomer to York, having moved here in September of last year. I am impressed with the friendliness, openness, and refreshing generosity of the citizens of York. I have no doubt that my first impressions will be confirmed as I live and work in this lovely city. Nevertheless, great thought should be put into the type of considerations which go into both the expansion of the residential zoning ordinances and the individual permits which may/will be issued.