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Hearing set for proposed Northport group home for developmentally disabled

Town of Smithtown Supervisor Edward Wehrheim said town

Town of Smithtown Supervisor Edward Wehrheim said town officials have noticed "an uptick in locating these homes specifically here" in recent years. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

A proposed group home for adults with developmental disabilities on old Route 25A in Northport will get a public hearing next month at Smithtown’s senior center. 

Woodbury-based Center for Developmental Disabilities would house seven young adults who are recent graduates of the organization’s children’s residential program at the five-bedroom home, according to a letter the organization sent to the town Nov. 26. 

Trained employees would provide 24-hour supervision, and residents would attend day programs or work outside of the home. 

“The project has been reviewed by and is supported by” New York State’s Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, a service and oversight agency, according to the letter. 

No one from the Center for Developmental Disabilities was available to comment Monday.

The Westbury nonprofit serves 300 families at two campuses and 20 residential programs across Long Island, according to the letter and the organization’s website. 

Clients include people with autism and other developmental disabilities.

“The Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) works to provide residential supports to people in, or near, the community in which they already reside to ensure that they can keep connected with family and friends,” said Denise M. Decarlo in an emailed statement. “New York State leads the nation when it comes to residential opportunities for people with developmental disabilities, providing about 43,000 people with a place they can call home. Last year alone, 1,300 people moved into an OPWDD certified residence.”

The 2,500-square-foot split-level home sold for $670,000 on Dec. 16, according to real estate website Zillow.com. Property records list the former owner as a Kings Park-based company, Patriot Prop Acquisitions. 

Group homes, also known as community residences, often draw strong, polarized reaction. Neighbors say they fear reduced property values and other problems, while family and friends of residents say their loved ones face a critical shortage of supportive housing here and elsewhere in the state. 

In Smithtown, which has about three dozen such homes, Supervisor Edward Wehrheim said town officials have noticed “an uptick in locating these homes specifically here” in recent years. Town officials have little power to authorize or reject homes that operate under the auspices of state law, he said, though staff lawyers from town attorney Matthew Jakubowski’s office will attend next week’s hearing “to address any resident concerns.” 

Most homes, once established, operate without complaint, Wehrheim said. One exception is a home on Angela Court in St. James that has drawn repeated visits from town officials over uncovered garbage cans and staff parking in the street. 

The hearing is Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. 

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