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Monday, July 28, 2014

Group home passes its first hurdle

By Qainat Khan
Posted

Community Board 8’s Health, Hospital and Social Services committee voted on Oct. 4 to approve a group home for adults with developmental disabilities. 

Pending the recommendation by the full board and licensing approval, the Kingsbridge Heights building at 2749 University Ave. will house ten adults who are at the highest functioning end of the developmentally disabled spectrum. There will be supervision 24 hours a day, but the goal of the home is to provide an accommodating environment for independent living. 

The organization, Episcopal Social Services, has owned the building since 1991 and will manage the residence. 

Steve Froot, the chair of the CB 8 committee, said that at the meeting two of the building’s neighbors and representatives from the Kingsbridge Heights Neighborhood Improvement Association inquired about the nature of the residence, but brought up no objections. 

The Office for Children and Family Services, a state agency, utilized the building as a group home for foster children until December 2006.

Mr. Froot said the adults who will occupy the residence are Bronx natives who have aged out of residential schools in other parts of the metropolitan area, and are returning to live in their community. 

Before opening the residence, which is planned for March 2013, the Episcopal Social Services will undertake a $900,000 renovation of the space. 

At an earlier meeting, CB 8 Land Use chair Charles Moerdler addressed the issue of Padavan Law, which caps the establishment of new facilities if a neighborhood is already saturated with social service facilities.

At the public hearing, Mr. Froot mapped every facility in the Board’s jurisdiction on an interactive map, which he displayed at the meeting.

“It doesn’t appear this neighborhood has been burdened,” Mr. Froot said, noting that every neighborhood in CB 8 has its share of social service facilities. The map also included the northern part of Community Board 7, which borders the area in question. 

Mr. Froot noted, with some pride, that this was the first time in the Board’s history that such a tool — an interactive map — has been used to assuage such concerns. 

The board, with the committee’s recommendation, will vote on the final phase of approval on Wednesday, Oct. 10. 

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