Housing controversy in Herrin

By Arnold Wyrick - bio | email

HERRIN, IL (KFVS) - A home on Mustang Court is at the center of a controversy between neighbors and the H Group in Marion, Illinois.

The H Group bought the home at 3220 Mustang Court to use as a group home for four developmentally disabled people.

"It's a nice house. The people that we are going to provide residential services too deserve a nice house," said Rob Ford Director of Rehabilitation Center. "What we're trying to do is provide them as normal a living arrangement as we can."

But some of the neighbors in the area don't want the disabled people living near them. And they voiced their opposition to the move during a recent Herrin Zoning Committee meeting.

The committee decided to deny the H Group their request for a special use permit. And the issue landed in the laps of the Herrin City Council on Monday night.

Herrin Mayor Vic Ritter made a motion to table a vote on the issue to allow things to simmer down over the issue. But his motion was voted down and the council moved forward.

After much discussion among the council members they ended up voting six to two to not allow the H Group to have a special use permit on the home.

An Afghanistan War Veteran Randy Adams had something to say to the council members and the homeowners gathered in the council chambers after the vote.

"We should not be treated as one of them. You should not treat me as one of them because I'm disabled and suffer from PTSD," said Adams. "We're all together in this let's live amongst each other. Let's not criticize somebody or put them in a different category."

Not everyone in the neighborhood was against the disabled people moving into their neighborhood.

"I'm in favor of the group home," said Sandra Wilkens. "I'm not afraid of them. I'm a widow and I live alone. I'm afraid of people that are out on the street, not people in a group home."

Herrin Mayor Vic Ritter voted in favor of the H Group getting the special use permit.

And the CEO of the H Group John Markley says they will fight the council's decision. And they will reapply for their special use permit on the home.

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