Penfield, N.Y. - In early 2012, a Webster non-profit with 34 years of expertise helping developmentally disabled people thought it had a reasonable idea: build a group home for returning veterans in nearby Penfield.
"By transferring them from apartments to the Warriors Salute house, we will really facilitate an even higher success rate as they operate together and live together," said retired Major General Robert Mixon of CDS Monarch.
After securing land and investing several hundred thousand dollars, CDS Monarch expected a warm response for a community with more than a dozen group homes. The reception was far from inviting.
"What if they snap?" said Talitha Marshall, who lives across the street from CDS's Embury Road house. "We don't know what these people have been through in the past."
Marshall says she has no problems with returning military members. She said her brother has been a United States Marine for a decade. Marshall is also familiar with CDS as she works for a state group home that sends some clients to CDS for other services.
Other Embury Road residents said they understand the need for a facility catering to traumatized veterans, and are in favor if it, as is town Supervisor Tony LaFountain.
CDS Monarch watched Thursday as the Penfield Zoning Board tabled decision on its request for a conditional use permit.
Marshall said she moved her family to Penfield from Rochester for peace and safety. Should CDS have its way, she's planning to move.
Under CDS's proposal, if approved, the building at 265 Embury Road would house 14 veterans starting July 10th.
A CDS spokesperson said Warrior Salute is generally a six month to one year program and is funded by community donations and corporate sponsors.
Whether the board accepts or denies the CDS, either side could appeal to the State Supreme Court, according to LaFountain.