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Weyburn council rejects special needs care home project after resident pushback
Published Tuesday, March 12, 2019 12:39PM CST
Weyburn city council has rejected a proposal from the Saskatchewan Housing Authority Corporation to develop a new personal care home in the city.
The discretionary use permit application, posted online in a public council agenda, calls for the construction and development of a new dwelling-style personal care home to be located at 137 DeLeat Drive.
“The home will be locally operated by a community based organization being the Weyburn Group Homes Society,” the document reads. “There will be staff available, two to three on rotation, for 24 hour supervision and assistance with daily living tasks. There will be a maximum of 4 occupants who may be either mentally or physically disabled to some degree.”
The proposal also states the home would fit in with the surrounding subdivision, known as “the Creeks.”
“The appearance of these homes shall be of size, scale and outward appearance in keeping with the neighborhood. The landscaping for these personal care homes shall be compatible with neighboring residential properties and consistent with the character of the neighborhood,” the proposal continued.
The Weyburn District Planning Commission also reviewed the application and found no concerns from a planning or zoning perspective.
City administration also recommended council approve the development, as it met all requirements.
However, the project was met with backlash from neighbourhood residents, who stated the group home could lower property values and raise safety concerns, among other issues.
Several resident letters and emails were also included in the public council agenda.
“The concerns with the current location is that the existing residents would not have the option to choose whether or not they want to live across from a group home,” an email from councillor Brad Wheeler said. “When the existing residents purchased their lots and built their homes, there were no discussions of a group home in that area, if there had been, they might have chosen to build elsewhere.”
“I don't think anyone is opposed to having the group home in their neighborhood, they just don't want it directly across from them or beside them,” Wheeler’s email continued.
“We are concerned that the Proposed Development may lower property values or effect insurance rates, and thus will be of no benefit to the existing residents,” a letter addressed from the Residents of the Creeks subdivision said. “There has been no information indicating that there are no other locations suitable for the proposed use. We submit there is no need to impact the expectations of the residents who moved to the neighbourhood understanding the lots would be for single-family residential use.”
“We are VERY concerned for the safety of our neighbourhood with the nature of the care home,” another letter read. “The needs and the severity of the participants dwelling there may change in the future and our hands would be tied for dispute.”
Some residents simply wanted more time for both themselves and council to review the project and get more information. Others say they only oppose the proposed site.
“Please understand that this is an opposition of the location, not of the idea, need or vision of the group home,” another resident letter stated.
Council was given three options: to approve the home without further conditions, approve the home with imposed conditions that aimed to quell some resident concerns, or refuse the care home’s development permit entirely.
Council selected the latter option, voting to reject the proposal for the DeLeat Drive care home.
The future of the group home in the city is currently unknown.