Residency program in neighborhood raises concerns - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Residency program in neighborhood raises concerns

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Residents in Scotland are speaking out after a new residency program opened up right next door without them ever knowing, and people living nearby aren't taking it lightly.

Neighbors told Eyewitness News they just want the facts. They're alarmed that there was no public hearing or notification that a facility caring for adults with mental health disabilities opened up right next door. 

A home on Huntington Road in Scotland is being operated by a non-profit caring for two convicted sex offenders and another man.

"It makes me nervous. It means I need to change the way," said Wendy Sears, of Scotland. "That I lead my life based on who my neighbor is and I've never felt like that before."

Sears and her family live right next door. 

The residence at 238 Huntington Rd. is now owned by Reliance Chelsea Realty, which is a division of Reliance Inc. It is a non-profit that provides community based mental health services.

The residency in question opened in February with little or no community discussion, according to neighbors.

"Perhaps we erred by not talking to folks first. It's a private sale. We lease to individuals," said David Burnett, who is the CEO of Reliance House Inc. "It's not traditionally a group home, but I understand its hard to tell the difference."

All three people at the residence were diagnosed with mental health disabilities. They are monitored by 15 employees 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"We have operated at Reliance House for 30 years with forensically involved folks," Burnett said. "There has not been one adverse incident."

Burnett said Reliance House operates 20 homes throughout the region. But in hindsight, he said maybe they should have been more open about their plans in Scotland to ease any fears.

Eyewitness News asked town officials about why the residents were not informed about the home. 

"It did. I had no idea until residents started pouring in. That's all I can say, we have questions too," said Scotland First Selectman Dan Syme.

"As high risk sex offenders who require 24/7 monitoring, how can that be a single-family residential home," Sears said. 

Planning and zoning, selectmen and concerned neighbors will meet next Thursday at the firehouse to discuss how this home was approved.

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