Cairo City Council members approved a permit use for a group home in the city
Residents expressed their concerns of living near a group home
A Group home will operate out of this house on 35 14th Avenue NW
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -
Some upset folks in Cairo tonight lost their battle to keep a group home out of their neighborhood. City Council members approved a permit from the home over the objections of neighbors. A man walked out of tonight's Cairo City Council meeting promising to try to vote council members out of office. He and other residents are upset that a group home for the mentally disabled will soon operate out of a home at 35 14th Avenue.
"Is there anything that we can do to say something about restrictions," said a concerned resident. "Do we have any rights."
A non-profit organization called Sunrise Community of Georgia Incorporated sued Cairo last year saying the city unfairly denied their request to open the home. Lawyers for both sides are still working on a settlement, but tonight the council voted to grant a permit for the group home.
"I'm gone make a motion to approve the conditional use permit," said a city council member.
John Mason's mother lives next door to the future group home, and he's worried.
"It's a very exclusive neighborhood, we recognize the right of anybody to buy a house to live there but the covenant strongly restricts anybody having a business there, and that's certainly a business," said Mason.
Residents also worry the home would drive down property values and create safety concerns.
"It is a fear that some of the people housed in that particular house might get out and come over and torment some of the neighbors, so there's a safety issue," said Mason.
This will be the third group home in Cairo. City leaders say they have to follow federal law.
"The Issue that we are having to face with the federal law and the fact that we have a court case that we are fixing to be going up, We're already 99% sure that when we go to court we're going to lose," said Mayor Richard Vanlandingham.
The attorney representing the city wouldn't go on camera but did say as part of the compromise, Sunrise agrees to limit the number of homes it may try to open in Cairo. Concerned residents say that's not enough.
"I would like to see them sell the house to another family and then find another location for these people," said Mason.
A formal settlement of the lawsuit should be finalized in a couple of months. The home will only be allowed to serve four people with mental disabilities.