Jeannette residents told trying to prevent facility for challenged adults could bring lawsuit
By Richard Gazarik
Published: Saturday, June 15, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Jeannette officials told Paruco Park residents this week that nothing that can be done to block the opening of a group home for mentally and physically challenged adults in their neighborhood.
Residents complained to council about the negative effect the home could have on their property values and asked if the house met all city zoning requirements.
“We don't know what's going to happen in that house when they move there,” said Lorraine Orange, who lives next door to the group home. “Yes, we have concerns. I see my property worth less and less.”
But City Attorney Scott Avolio said that under the federal Fair Housing Act, zoning has no bearing on the issue and there is nothing the city can do to stop the home from opening unless it wants to face a civil rights lawsuit.
“It's a discrimination issue,” Avolio said.
Avolio said four adults will live at the Lewis Avenue home, which was purchased for $178,000 last month by Community Options Inc. of New Jersey.
Bridget Haney, director of the organization's Pittsburgh office, said the agency cares for and serves as an advocate for people with physical and mental disabilities and helps clients with employment.
“We'll be bringing in revenue, providing jobs and using other local resources,” she said.
City building inspector Ed Howley said he has been in the house and said although it needs smoke detectors, a fire escape and emergency lighting to comply with building codes, it is in “very good shape.”
“I have the same concerns that residents have, but this federal act really ties the hands of the city as to what we can do there,” Howley said.
The same agency opened a group home in Greensburg last year without any controversy.
The company purchased that house in Greensburg for $160,000.
Richard Gazarik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6292 or at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Murrysville woman sues Giant Eagle over burns
- Judge explains why suspect in East Liberty killings was freed
- Hempfield church offers rides to shut-ins for Holy Thursday service
- Retired postal worker picks $1M winner
- Bridge work a priority for PennDOT in Westmoreland
- Graziani hired away from Latrobe as Penn Township’s manager
- Jailed Hribal ‘fine,’ but family ‘terrible’ as answers in stabbing sought
- Response to Franklin Regional stabbings earns official top public safety spot
- Franklin Regional High School stabber didn’t discriminate