Friday, July 19, 2013

meet the neighbors

We hit a milestone in home ownership! Our first zoning hearing.

There's a duplex directly across the street which is obviously used for some kind of residential program, with 6-9 people or so always milling around, getting in a van and driving somewhere, smoking outside. When we moved in, we had a few people say, "That's a halfway house, you know," except that none of them had bothered to actually look into it and discover that it's the residence house for a private substance abuse rehab clinic. The patients live there, and the van takes them back and forth to the meetings downtown.

We thought to introduce ourselves, but when I walked over there, the staff member came out and we didn't have an encouraging conversation.
"This is private property."
"I know, I just bought the house across the street and wanted--"
"Yeah, this is private property."
Oookay then. Anna tried another time, and had the same conversation. She sent them a "Hi, we're your neighbors" email, and didn't get a response. Well, fair enough. Maybe there's a policy or something. We think rehab programs are important, and we understand they have to protect the patients.

Other neighbors' hushed voices notwithstanding, the rehab center isn't really any trouble, except that the residents' smoking/social area is right outside all our bedroom windows. They can come out as early as 6 AM, and are sometimes outside as late as midnight, and because they're humans, they're talking and sometimes laughing. It sounds like they're right outside our window, because they are: 65 feet with no obstructions.

We've been living with the noise, because there's not that many people and it's bearable. Then we got a notice about them applying for a "Use Permit modification" to let them have more patients.
More noise + They won't communicate with us = We have a disagreement
We showed up for the hearing, which was fascinating, and we met the treatment center people in almost the most awkward way imaginable, by getting up afterward and testifying why we think they shouldn't get their permit. The Executive Director and Manager were very gracious and concerned to meet us afterward. They were shocked that the patients were out that late, that we had been chased off the property, and that we hadn't been able to establish communication with them.

Today one of the Residence Supervisors stopped by, and he was also shocked at all those things. Even though there's staff awake 24/7 at the residence house. So...that's three layers of management, none of whom seem to have any clue that their patients are outside after lights-out. It doesn't seem a good omen.

At least they're nice, so far.

Except for the lady who chased us away.

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