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Greenfield neighbors angered by apparent city support for senior home project

But officials stress that decision for now was only for land split

Feb. 13, 2014

Greenfield — The battle over whether a second group home for the elderly will be built next to an existing one at 4900 S. 68th Street is not over, one neighbor said.

"I don't think the board members represented the people of the community," said neighbor Ron Pietraszewski of the 3-2 Greenfield Common Council vote last week approving a land split.

The approval cleared the way for Castle Home Care to ask for final approval for an eight-bed 5,000-square-foot community-based residential facility on the vacant parcel created.

Several neighbors spoke against the proposed facility at last week's meeting. Their criticisms included that the proposed facility is much larger than the current eight-bed group home and much larger than homes in the neighborhood, that it would set a precedent that might result in whole rows of group homes, and that it would generate more traffic and emergency vehicles.

Pietraszewski strongly criticized the three aldermen voting for the land split.

"They took it upon themselves to be above the citizens of the community," he said. "... I want to know why they voted the way they did."

Split decision

Alderman Karl Kastner, who voted for the split along with Linda Lubotsky and Shirley Saryan, said simply that the split met all city requirements as to size and other issues.

"I don't want a government that tells you how to split up land" when it is legal, Kastner said.

Whether a second senior home there is desirable is another question, he said.

Indeed, Mayor Michael Neitzke reminded aldermen more than once that the issue was the land split and not whether a second building is desirable.

But some aldermen acknowledged support for the eventual building plans as well.

"I don't see a problem with another eight-bed CBRF on the other piece of land," Lubotsky said. "An eight-bed home is not a bad neighbor by any means."

Not only that, the homes fill a need in that people needing care are better off in a small group home, Lubotsky said.

Kastner said he could make an argument either way. Senior homes are in short supply, he noted, a fact of which he became aware as he tried to find a place for his father at the end of his life. But they can be intrusive in residential neighborhoods, he acknowledged.

Voting against the land split were aldermen Tom Pietrowski, in whose district the area lies, and Pam Akers. Pietrowski agreed with neighbors that they were not being listened to.

Still making plans

Building plans should be ready to go to the Plan Commission's March 11 meeting, said Kevin Kiefer of Castle Home Care. The commission could be the place where the neighbors' concerns are addressed.

Before the Plan Commission meeting, Kiefer said he plans to talk again with some neighbors to see if additional adjustments can be made. Kiefer came away from last week's Common Council vote happy.

"I'm very pleased. I think the aldermen who voted for it saw the value in it," he said.

AT A GLANCE

WHAT: Greenfield Plan Commission consideration of building and site plans for a 5,000-square-foot group home for the elderly at 4900 S. 68th St.

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. March 11

WHERE: Greenfield City Hall, 7325 W. Forest Home Ave.

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