Port Chester trustees say they'll fight plans to build a new group home in the village.
Ability Beyond Disability recently notified the village of its intent to build a six-bedroom ranch house on a two-lot expanse of open space on Betsy Brown Road. The non-profit provides assisted living to adults with disabilities, as well as associated services like transportation, life skills training and employment programs.
Trustees say they're not opposed to the group home's mission, and their opposition is not an attempt to satisfy would-be neighbors in the area.
Instead, they say, it's a money issue.
"Port Chester's gotta stop being a target for properties coming off the tax rolls," Trustee John Branca said Monday.
Trustees asked staff to come up with a comprehensive list of group homes in Port Chester, but said the number is close to a dozen. There are almost 300 people living in nursing homes, group homes for the mentally ill and other group living structures in the village, according to the latest Census data.
Despite ongoing and successful revitalization efforts, several prominent commercial lots in the village remain vacant. In other places, such as the site of the decaying former United Hospital, .
Port Chester is also home to more than a dozen churches and houses of worship, and groups like the Salvation Army have taken prominent downtown storefront space off the tax rolls.
That may not seem like much, trustees say, but with all those non-taxable lots jammed into two square miles, the combined impact has squeezed residential taxpayers and irked elected leaders.
"This is more than just a neighborhood issue," said Trustee Bart Didden.
Village leaders want to hear from residents, and they've scheduled a public hearing on Jan. 17, at 6:30 p.m. in the village courthouse.
They've also extended invitations to Port Chester's state representatives, although both will likely be in Albany during the public hearing. Branca, who recalled unsuccessful efforts to limit group homes while he was mayor, said Port Chester will need their help.
"I'm very, very disappointed in our state representatives," Branca said. "They should be fighting for this community and saying Port Chester has done its share."
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