When a released sex offender plans to move in next door, or a drug-treatment center is scoping sites for a new halfway house, a neighborhood's red flags invariably follow.
Now, the list of objectionable neighbors is growing.
In the face of overwhelming opposition from residents in an upscale community called Stonemill Farms in eastern Woodbury, plans for a 45-unit assisted-living facility for people with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia have been put on hold.
The Alzheimer's facility is the latest in a growing list of projects across the metro that are meeting resistance from neighbors who perceive a threat to their communities or fear their property values will erode.
A decision on whether to recommend the Woodbury project for approval was to go before the city's Planning Commission on April 5, but the developer on Wednesday asked for more time to address issues, including concerns raised by neighbors, said Eric Searles, associate planner for Woodbury.
The move follows nearly a month of intensive protests and petitions by neighbors who mainly object to locating the facility in a failed retail site near a day care center and across the street from an elementary school. Many have also expressed a sense of betrayal that the original plans for the community never envisioned an assisted-living facility.
The facility would go into a dead retail center: turning vacant space into useful space usually improves neighborhoods. The idea that Alzheimer's patients pose a risk to children is beyond preposterous. I understand having land use controls so that property owners don't have to deal with genuine nuisances, such as oil refineries. But what kind of people seek to deny the infirm a decent place to live? One hopes that once these neighbors are stricken with Alzheimer's, they retain enough of their long term memory to remember how badly they behaved.