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Valid concerns raised on respite care facility

Taxpayers and residents of the Town of Tonawanda have the right to express their concerns about changes in their residential area. It is only natural that concerns arise when rumors abound and residents are not presented with adequate information or facts. It’s unfortunate that when residents spoke out before their Town Board with legitimate questions and concerns, the media became accusatory and portrayed them in a negative light. It’s disheartening that people feel the residents are against the nature of the business of servicing developmentally disabled children.
When information came to light that this is not a typical respite home, as others in the area, but incorporated as a youth center as well, residents voiced many concerns, including the effect on surrounding property values, increased traffic and zoning/alterations to a residential neighborhood. In fact, the suggested alternative sites that may be better suited for a youth center are in that same Town of Tonawanda vicinity, but in a business zone.
Some residents spoke about their personal experiences working with developmentally disabled children and their connections to family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and acquaintances who have a need for these services. We are sympathetic to the difficulties families face and know that respite care is a much-needed service. If this was any other business moving into this neighborhood, we would have the exact same concerns. It was never the intention of the Town of Tonawanda residents to disregard developmentally disabled children and their families.
Carolyn Passman
Town of Tonawanda