Neighbors raise concerns over planned group home

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ST. JAMES -

A not-for-profit group plans to turn a St. James house into a home for six adults with developmental disabilities, but some neighbors are raising concerns.

Some residents say their location on Twixt Hills Road isn't the right space for the group home. They say the winding, hilly street isn't conducive the increased parking and traffic that they would expect when six adults and their staff move in.

Neighbors who are against the plan did not want to speak with News 12 on camera. Other residents said they didn't see anything wrong with the plan.

Life's WORC, a private nonprofit organization that supports people with developmental and autism, plans to open the home to address the shortage of community housing for adults.

Under state law, the town has 40 days to accept the home, recommend a different location or reject it on grounds that it would alter the character of the community.

Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick says residents can voice their concerns at a public meeting next month and says residents can inform themselves to better understand the situation.

"The reason why we welcome them is because their parents are getting old they can't take care of them any longer," Fitzpatrick says. "These are people doing God's work, and that are helping handicapped individuals trying to lead a normal life like you and I do."

News 12 reached out to Life's WORC for comment but did not hear back.

The community hearing is scheduled for Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Smithtown Senior Center.

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