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Potential group homes in Brant raise ‘red flags’ to officials

The proposed placement of a pair of group homes in the Town of Brant took center stage again this month at the April 9 meeting of the Brant Town Board.

This time however, the situation was discussed in more detail and even a potential next step for the town was suggested.

“There have been talks of putting up two five bedroom group homes with the Town of Brant, and I feel I need to elaborate on this because it has been a hot subject of concern,” said Code Enforcement Officer Gary Brecker. “I want to take the time to get everyone up to speed on what’s going on here.”

Brecker took time during his monthly report to the Board to address the situation, which he says has caused a bit of concern around the Town. Initially the homes were to be located at 110097 Erie Rd.

“There is real community concern here,” Brecker said. “My phone has been ringing off the hook since the last board meeting. I have to be concerned where they are going to build, and they do not want to build where there is no public water. They can get along without public sewer, but they need public water. So, if they do build here in Brant, this is going to regulate where they can build.”

The homes are being constructed by Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled and could house criminals as well.

“My contact person for this has been Carrie Heigl, and she feels that they can only build in certain areas in the town because of the clientele. When I asked what type of clientele she was talking about, she said she could not answer that. I asked if the clientele were convicted felons, and she again said she could not answer that and that she did not know. Mark Foley, the President of Community Services, did not want to build on the original site because there was a family with five children across the road. A flag went up with me on that. If there are sex offenders that do come in as a part of this, we need to remember the town’s Sex Offender Law, and if this is the case they cannot build any closer than 1,500 feet from a church or a school so we have to consider that. If these people were convicted felons, we have to work together on where they are going to be placed. They cannot be put in a community or residential setting.”

“I was in Supervisor Leonard Pero’s office when she called him and he asked her point blank if there were going to be sex offenders and she sashayed around the question and would not answer him. Pero suggested they purchase the church down on Route 5 and build down there. She said we can’t do that because there is a mini-golf course across the street. That set up another flag for me.”

Pero took the time during the discussion to make his feelings known on the situation. “I’m here for the safety of the people of the town, and I feel this could hurt residents if placed in the town,” Pero said. “I care about the welfare of this community and I believe that the board does too.”

Town Attorney William Trask suggested that the town request some more formal written communication in order to move forward.

“If they are withdrawing the first site, the only site really they have identified, then we should ask for a formal written notice from them that they have withdrawn that site as a candidate site,” Trask said. “If they identify another site, then new communication would come from them regarding the new site and then the Town would have a new opportunity to consider that site as appropriate or not.”

Brecker added that Heigl informed him that they are currently at a standstill and have no place to build.
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