PORT CHESTER, N.Y. - The Village of Port Chester's Board of Trustees held a public hearing on group homes on Tuesday that received full participation from members of the community, including state Assembly member George Latimer (D Mamaroneck).
The hearing was held at the behest of trustee Bert Didden, who expressed his opposition to the continued implementation of group homes for elderly and the disabled in Port Chester. According to statistics compiled by Didden, Port Chester has the highest rate of group homes per square mile than any other community in the county.
Didden and many members of the public spoke about the "Padavan Law" implemented by former State Senator Frank Padavan in 1978 that has acted as the catalyst for the increase in group homes throughout communities like Port Chester.
"(Senator Padavan) felt that everyone would do their fair share and the perforation would eventually even itself out," Didden said regarding the density of group homes. "Here we are 34 years later and we have evidence that it hasn't leveled out."
Didden spoke about how neighboring communities like Rye and Harrison only have a handful of group homes between them, and how villages like Port Chester are exploited because of their lower property values.
"The deck is stacked against the community. Looking at it now, it's apparent to me that these homes need to assimilate into all communities," Didden said. "There is no reason why people with needs can't assimilate into Rye and Harrison."
Local activist Goldie Solomon echoed Didden's remarks.
"The nonprofits can purchase here, and they cant purchase in an elitist community," Solomon said. "I'm not against group homes, I'm a nurse, I care for people who need help, but the state is not doing what it should be doing. Assemblyman Latimer can't do it by himself, the law is all wrong."
Mayor Dennis Pilla, at the recommendation of Latimer, requested that the village's legal counsel Tony Cerreto begin the stages of drafting a resolution to create a subcommittee that could better address this issue.
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