I read your story on Monday, about “Group homes and BR at odds” and was quite surprised that those of us who have been involved with this issue for months were not even contacted for the article.
Alison Cascio Gary, the council member who has both homes in her district was not interviewed, nor was anyone from the Westminster Pine Park Civic Association.
Let me state clearly that the Westminster Pine Park Civic Association strongly opposes unlicensed group homes operating in our neighborhood. It is a clear violation of A1-Single Family Zoning. We report and pursue any home in our neighborhood that has too many unrelated people living in the house to protect our residents.
The Oxford House occupancy of nine women at 4224 Drusilla has caused numerous traffic problems because of the amount of cars and people coming and going. This includes creating dangerous situations for school buses swerving around cars while bringing children to and from Westminster Elementary, which is directly across the street. There have also been noise complaints, suspicious behavior and illegal parking reports from surrounding neighbors.
Although the people you interviewed about the impact of property values could not give an absolute answer, please remember that this home just started in October. It has not been a full year yet. The decline in property value will happen over time. As the burden of too many people living in a home continues on a quiet residential street, neighbors will choose other places to reside.
Ask yourself this: Would you invest your finances and family into a home that was next door to a property with nine unrelated people and cars coming and going and parking all over the place?
The questions that I continue to get repeatedly from our concerned and outraged residents are:
• How can this be legal?
• Don’t we live in a neighborhood that is protected by zoning laws?
• Why hasn’t anything been done?
My answer is simply, YES!
It is illegal. Now we just have to see if Judge James Brady will uphold the law in his decision. If he doesn’t, what’s next? Anyone will be able to group people and put them in a single family zoned neighborhood.
Established neighborhoods such as Westminster Pine Park and Goodwood Villa are vital to our great city of Baton Rouge. Ultimately, without zoning laws to protect them, they will not continue to thrive and be revitalized.
Anne Underwood, president Westminster Pine Park Civic Association