Tonawanda News

The Town

April 17, 2013

A grand start for disabled child respite home


Tonawanda News — But despite the celebratory mood Tuesday, the project didn’t come without controversy. In the fall, after the organization purchased the home and announced their plans, a group of town residents who live near the home publicly objected to the plans for the home. 

Residents spoke out against the project at town board meetings and signed a petition against the proposals. They argued the home would cause more traffic in the neighborhood, and that the home violated zoning codes.

Although officials attempted to address the group’s concerns, board members and Town Attorney John Flynn said both the codes and state law allowed for the purchase and use of the home.

But months later, some residents are still concerned. 

“We are worried because of the congestion,” Dorothy Merzacco, of Dixon Drive said. “This is a real residential neighborhood, very quiet ... we figure it was going to become noisy, with more traffic. And I live in the second home from that location.”

But Heigl said many other neighbors have reached out to her to show their support for the project.

“We’ve had an outpouring of support, with neighbors saying they are for it — that they have children of their own with disabilities,” Heigl said. “I chalk the worries up to concerns about the unknown.” 

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150

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