In light of the events at Cicero's March 26 board meeting, Cicero Town Councilor Jim Corl and Supervisor Chet Dudzinski held a press conference on April 1, calling for New York State legislature to repeal a law that they claim is discriminatory.
"It was a very disturbing meeting that we had last Wednesday," Corl said. "It all surrounded around a law, which is the Mental Hygiene law 41:34, and what we're calling for the state to take action immediately and have this law repealed."
Corl said the law doesn't belong on the books.
"This law is inherently discriminatory, it's archaic, it's mean-spirited and should not even be on the books," said Corl. "What this law does basically is if somebody wants to move into a community, and they have developmental disabilities, they have to approach the municipality in which they want to reside."
Corl added that because of how the law is written, in order to open and operate, they have to come before the municipality and ask town board permission.
"Since this law was enacted over 30 years ago, there has been federal legislation such as the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act," Corl said. "The spirit of both of those laws would prevent this sort of thing from happening. I believe this law is unconstitutional as written."
The issue came to the forefront at the town's March 26 board meeting after Community Options approached the board about purchasing a house on Snowshoe Trail to be used as a group home for three men with disabilities. About 15 people living in the area spoke on opposition to the project, citing traffic issues and concerns about "people they didn't know" coming and going from the home.
"The town board made the decision, although is was probably not the most favorable decision, to move forward and allow Community Options to pursue and open up their home," Corl said.