More than 75 people turned out last week for what became a heated informational meeting that the Lysander Town Board held to learn more about a community residence expected to be built on 3494 Doyle Road. Its program serves boys ages 7 to 13 who experience severe mental health and or behavioral issues.
Attorney John Klucsik, of Gilberti Stinziano Heintz and Smith Law Firm, acted as legal counsel for the town and moderator throughout the meeting. A panel of four representatives for the nonprofit organization, Toomey Residential and Community Services, attempted to give a presentation about their facility and its program. Representatives, however, were interrupted multiple times by angry residents demanding why they hadn’t heard about the proposed group home when it was first introduced to Lysander officials in a certified letter delivered 13 months ago.
Supervisor John Salisbury admitted he received the letter and walked it down to the codes department, but when he had found out from codes that nothing had happened with the property, he said he forgot about it, as too did the codes department.
The March 2013 letter was from Toomey Residential notifying the town of the project. The town had 40 days to support or oppose the project, or offer an alternate site within the town of Lysander. No action by the town was taken.
“I take responsibility for that,” Salisbury said. “It’s not like me not to send this to the board, but I have no record that I ever sent [it]."
In addition to the residents’ fury with the board, they expressed multiple concerns about the project ranging from decrease in property value and an increase in taxes to safety, crime and security. Some people who spoke expressed empathy for the struggling families, however, they still felt uncomfortable having this type of program in their neighborhood.