Public Forum about a United Way group home

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As most residents are aware there is a concern about a group home being built at 15 Bradford, Glen Rock, NJ. This house has been marked as condemned by the borough. The United Way of Bergen County is attempting to purchase this house and is currently under contract with the current owner to purchase it. The Bergen County United Way is being transparent with this transaction with the Borough of Glen Rock and its residents. An organization does not have to notify the borough if they were using their own funds strictly. They are asking Glen Rock to use their Municipal Housing Trust Fund (www.nj.gov/dca/services/lps/hss/ahtf.html) for this transaction. This is not  money from the residents taxes. This is a fund that comes from the fees when you do a construction job on your house.

Some of the concerns that the residents have are:

How long has the Borough known?

Tom Toronto, President of Bergen County United Way approached Mayor Van Keuren a few months ago to inform the Mayor about their interest in purchasing a property in Glen Rock for a Group home. At that time there was no specific property mentioned.
Since then, in a closed meeting with the Borough Attorney, Mayor Van Keuren asked if Mr Garibaldi had heard anything … And the response was No.
It was not until May that the Borough received a copy of the sales contract between the current owners of 15 Bradford and the BC United Way.
The document dated August 2013 that was referred to, was just a model they had to create for the Municipal Housing Trust fund, so that Glen Rock would not lose their funds back to the state. It was not a prequel specifically to this deal.
Banana Tree News has requested a copy of this doc to show that United Way or any other organization is not listed.

2. What would the impact of this group home have on house values ?
Per several studies it indicates that there are no positive or negative impacts on neighborhood house values.
Mayor Van Keuren is asking the council to contract an independent expert to evaluate the impact of a group home in the Neighborhood and Borough.
Former Allendale Mayor Vince Barra, stood up and said that he has not experienced any negative impact in the neighborhoods or town from the several group homes in Allendale. If anything, It has been a very positive impact.

3. Councilwoman Amy Martin asked what type of disabilities are geared for this group home.
Examples are: Autism, Cerebral Palsy, MS, Cognitive Challenged and Muscular Dystrophy.
There are 90 disabilities that the state recognizes that would fit in the Developmental Disabilities Category of this potential house.
This does not include Mental / psychological disabilities

3. Who will own the house?
– United Way will own the house.

4. What will the house look like?
It will be a ranch style home that will fit into the neighborhood. The style and look will not be designed until they have closed on the house. At that time United Way will look at rehabbing the house before demolition.
5. How many residents and staff?
Residents – less then 10. The number is also determined on the footprint of the house and the amount of space. These residents pay rent based on their income. This is not a free service
Staff – Only 2 at a time.

6. Parking
The staff will park in the driveway of the house. Not on the street. This will evolve once they close on the house and can design the parking off the street.
There will be visitors and guests just like a normal family house.

7. How do they Select the residents
They encourage residents of the town to apply.
they then pick from their application pool and go on site visits and interview them and staff / family around them to ensure that they are safe people and know how to behave.
Potential residents come from a Tight proximity of the house

8. Councilman O’Hagan asked how can we ensure that this home will not change to any other type of individuals (mentally unstable, rehab for drugs / alcohol)
Deed restrictions
Reverter  clause (definitions.uslegal.com/r/reverter/)
If the defined use ends then the house will be returned to the borough.

9. Daily life
The flow of the house depends on who lives in home … They may go to work , shop, go to a day program or Volunteer.

10. Do these houses pay taxes?
These houses do not pay taxes. They do however pay for municipal services as a payment. In addition to 5% to the county.

Both the Mayor and Council assured the residents that this process will not be rushed through and they will have more informational meetings for the residents. They also asked for the residents to continue email them their concerns.

Julie

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