Monday, December 15, 2014

No Room at the Inn in Richardson

NIMBYism rears its head again. The latest manifestation of this all too common human weakness is over group homes for people recovering from chemical dependency.

There are 22 such group homes in Richardson. Does the number surprise you? Perhaps that's because nothing much is going on in these homes that affects the rest of the neighborhood, at least not in a bad way. As Richardson Police Chief Jim Spivey told The Dallas Morning News, group homes "generate no more calls than single-family residences." One could argue that supporting recovering alcoholics affects the neighborhood and the whole community in a good way, but that's not how NIMBYism works.

After the jump, why this is an issue now.

Perhaps the large number of group homes already in Richardson surprises you because you live in northern Richardson. Eighteen of the 22 group homes are south of Campbell Rd. No one noticed until one opened in the Fairways of Sherrill Park. Now both The Dallas Morning News and the Richardson City Council have taken notice.

And not in a good way. No, it's not a "Richardson Real Heroes" award that the people behind Chapter House Sober Living have been nominated for. Just the opposite. They are being treated like a public nuisance. Neighbors are "stunned and shocked" that there's a group home in their neighborhood. I don't think they mean stunned and shocked like they just won the lottery.

Mayor Laura Maczka said the city last reviewed its policies regarding group homes in 2012. "It's probably time for another review" she told The Dallas Morning News. Maczka had no problem defending real estate developers when the issue was more than a thousand multi-family apartments in the proposed Palisades development. Now that it's a small non-profit seeking to provide "a dignified living environment in a safe area" for twelve (12!) recovering alcoholics, Maczka appears supportive of the neighbors who might want to regulate them out of the neighborhood. I guess they can try to find room in a stable.

Merry Christmas and God bless us, everyone.