SOUTHINGTON -The Town Council on Monday discussed plans for reducing the incidence of police calls from a group home on Birchcrest Drive.
Councilors Dawn Miceli and Victoria Triano provided an update on the controversy involving the group home for girls taken from bad family situations.
Neighbors have long complaining about disruptive behavior by girls running away from the home and frequent police calls to the neighborhood.
Miceli and Triano, who head a task force on the issue, recently met with state Sen. Joe Markley, neighbors and police officers at the police station to come up with potential solutions
“It was a very productive meeting,” said Miceli. “It was very informational and we will continue to do research and talk to communities facing similar challenges. We will look into the possibility of implementation of a chronic noise ordinance. We will also talk to our congressmen about carving out a section of the fair housing act and creating a petition to the Department of Children and Families.”
Miceli said she has drafted the petition, which neighbors can sign and bring to the council for approval.
“Joe Markley will also look into introducing legislation which allows DCF to be contacted during group home hours,” Miceli added. “He will also examine the renewal process for this home and see if anything can be done about the undue burden it places on our community.”
Triano said she felt Markley “really heard the people.”
“He understands that this needs to be addressed,” said Triano. “We are not the only community that has this problem. We need to get people involved on all levels of government - local, state and federal.”
Council Chairman Chris Palmieri said Miceli and Triano have been a “good voice” for neighborhood residents.
Later, former Councilor and Ordinance Committee Chairwoman Cheryl Lounsbury updated the council on discussions she had with Town Attorney Carolyn Futtner on the issue. She also applauded neighbors and councilors for working together.
“We determined that we cannot make any ordinance for one group,” she said. “It has to apply to the entire population. Also, even if we implemented an ordinance limiting the number of police calls, Birchcrest Drive is run by DCF. They are responsible by law to contact the police every time.”
Lounsbury added that the number of calls has been trending down.
Town officials have been discussing the issue with group home administration and the numbers will be reexamined in three or four months. More meetings will be held with Markley and neighbors, too.
“We have discussed having emails sent to residents when police are called,” Lounsbury added. “That way, they know not to worry if it is only for something like a loud argument.”
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