Although there was still a surplus of mistrust and fear in last night’s meeting on the proposed transitional residence for felons, there was less shouting than two weeks ago, and the meeting ended with a commitment between neighbors and Reverend Jeffrey to work together on an agreement both sides can live with.
The new direction seems to have come from a realization by both sides that a continued stand-off won’t prevent the project from happening. But continued ill-will could make it a worse for everyone involved over the long term.
The state Department of Corrections attended and made it clear that they will not be placing supervised felons in the house as long as the community is at odds with the transitional housing project. But that leaves a big population of unsupervised felons who still need a place to live, and Reverend Jeffrey needs residents to start moving into the house soon so that he can pay for the multi-thousand dollar monthly lease.
So the community has agreed to work together with Jeffrey to develop a Good Neighbor Agreement that lays out the operation of the house and rules to lessen its impact on its neighbors.
The agreement will include:
- Restrictions that rule out felons with a history of sexual crimes, homicide, and other offenses
- Limits on the maximum number of residents in the house
- Participation by neighbors on the residence’s steering committee that will decide who is admitted to the program
- Notification to area schools and organizations that serve children
- Restrictions against residents taking up limited on-street parking spaces
- Restrictions on where residents can smoke around the property
The next steps include a possible meeting on March 8th to talk about the details of the Good Neighbor Agreement, and an open house this Thursday to allow residents to walk through the house and meet the people involved in the project.